Atlanta Experiences Rare 4.4 Magnitude Earthquake, Second Strongest On Record

PUBLISHED: March 21, 2019

Atlanta experienced some west coast vibes, literally, with an earthquake.

The 4.4 magnitude event woke the city up this morning around 4:15 am, making residents wonder if they were dreaming or not. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, it originated in Decatur, Tennessee, about seven miles away. To date, it is the second strongest quake on record for the region.

Atlanta has had earthquakes before, but they aren’t common. The strongest magnitude earthquake recorded in Georgia was a 4.3 magnitude event in Lincoln County. In 1984, Whitfield County experienced a 4.2 event in 1984. The last quake Georgia got was in 2009, but it wasn’t nearly as strong. It was recorded as a 3.0, with quakes after not breaking 4.0 for over 30 years, until this morning. More than 30 earthquakes of a magnitude 2.5 or greater have shaken Georgia since 1974.

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There were 40 earthquakes with center points inside Georgia’s boundaries. Some of the state’s counties have more points than others. Walker and Whitfield County in northwest Georgia have six points each and Lincoln and Hancock has five each. Some of the quake’s strength was felt in eastern Kentucky.

Residents in the metro area took to Twitter to double check if what they were feeling was real. Tweets from the city’s MLB team, the Atlanta Braves, used the opportunity to boast about one of their players, outfielder Ronald Acuna, Jr.

Earthquakes are a west coast thing but the east coast has had its share of quakes and there’s a reason. Eastern North America has older rocks that were formed millions of years ago before the ones on the west coast. Since they have aged over time, the rocks have been exposed to more extreme pressures and temperatures, making them harder and denser. Compared to those on the west coast, the rocks underground are younger and have broken up more, having less time to heal.

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