Verify: Is Georgia a hot spot for earthquakes?

Verify: Is Ga. an unusual spot for earthquakes?

SPARTA, GA.-- - During all of Wednesday’s severe weather, a part of Central Georgia got hit by Mother Nature in a different way. According to the United States Geological Survey, there were two earthquakes in Hancock County Wednesday night. We shared that information on our website and social media pages and it got many of you talking.

Kasandra Ortiz worked to verify the facts to learn whether Central Georgia is an unusual spot for earthquakes. The sources she used to verify the facts include Doctor Randall Peters, a retired Seismology Professor from Mercer University, and Paul Caruso, a geophysicist from the United States Geological Survey.

Thursday was business as usual in the city center of Sparta, but Wednesday among all the severe weather came an unexpected shake. According to the USGS, it was not thunder but an earthquake. Not one, but two earthquakes hit the city that night.

Pharmacist and Fire Chief Keith Webster says he lives on the same road where they hit Wyatt Road. He says he felt his home rock.

"Heard the first earthquake while I was watching TV and I thought it was just more thunder. When the second one hit, I was getting ready for bed. Once again, I still thought it was thunder, but really loud thunder because the whole house shook, but really, you could just hear the windows rattling a little bit,” says Keith Webster.

He says the last earthquake he remembers in the area was a few years ago, so we set out to verify if that area near Lake Sinclair is an earthquake hot spot. We went right to the experts. The USGS website says there have been 9 in the last 10 years in the lake area between Sparta, Milledgeville, and Eatonton.

"We get these a few times a year. You know, we get small earthquakes in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina. We get earthquakes in every state. Earthquakes are just something that happens,” says Caruso.

Based off the coordinates the USGS provided, those earthquakes actually happened in a wooded area on Wyatt Road. One of the experts we spoke to says the area may have some contributing factors.

"Unlike California and the very well-known San Andreas fault, we don't have fissures in the geology of Georgia like that, but there are occasional earthquakes. The ones that have happened up their near Lake Sinclair, in all likelihood, what caused that one was lake levels at Lake Sinclair,” explains Peters.

So is Central Georgia a hot spot for earthquakes? Our sources have verified that this is false. Those two earthquakes southwest of Sparta were 11 minutes apart Wednesday night. According to USGS the first quake registered as a 2.5 magnitude and the second was 2.7. Those numbers are considered very low on the Richter Scale.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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