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Small Earthquake Hits the High Country Just South of Blowing Rock Early Sunday

By Nathan Ham

A small earthquake with a magnitude of 2.1 was reported approximately 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) south of Blowing Rock at 12:55 a.m. Sunday.

The report put together by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) that the quake occurred at an approximate depth of 4.8 kilometers (2.99 miles) below the earth’s surface in Caldwell County. The USGS interactive map has an earthquake located in an area known as Winding Stairs Mountain, roughly three miles off of U.S. Highway 321 near the Happy Valley community.

According to the USGS, earthquakes under a magnitude of 2.5 are rarely felt at the surface. The report for this quake has one resident that reported feeling it.

This was just the first of two small quakes that registered with the USGS early Sunday morning in North Carolina. Another earthquake was reported around Indian Trail at approximately 4:30 a.m. with a magnitude of 1.8 that was at a depth of 5.5 milometers (3.4 miles) below the surface.

An estimated 900,000 small earthquakes such as this take place each year across the United States according to data from the Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences program at Michigan Tech.