USGS reports ‘micro’ earthquake shakes Triad

Published 4:13 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A 2.6 earthquake classified as “micro” rattled the Triad area Tuesday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter was about 3 miles east-northeast of Winston-Salem at 4:56 a.m. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

One resident said the quake felt like a large boom that lasted just a second or two.

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“We haven’t heard of there being any damage or anything, and typically you’re not going to experience that” with a quake this small, said Amy Vaughan, a geophysicist with the USGS in Golden, Colo.

She said though unusual for North Carolina, a quake of this magnitude would not be noticed in earthquake-prone California.

Winston-Salem police reported getting around 150 calls from locals wondering what happened.

“They reported a loud explosion and ground shaking,” said Lt. David Kiger with the Winston-Salem Police Department. “They just want to know what was going on.”

On June 15, a 3.1-magnitude earthquake shook buildings and rattled dishes in at least four western North Carolina counties. That quake was centered 28 miles north of Franklin and felt from Maggie Valley to Bryson City to Cashiers.

The biggest earthquake to shake North Carolina was on Feb. 21, 1916. The 5.2-magnitude quake centered near Waynesville, also in the western part of the state, toppled chimneys and sent people rushing into the street, according to the USGS.

Minor damage from that temblor was felt as far away as Kentucky, West Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee, according to the USGS.