Earthquakes Hit Tennessee Valley Early Wednesday Morning

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Two earthquakes happened early Wednesday morning just north of Chattanooga, awakening many early in the morning.

The earthquakes registered at 4.4 and 3.3 magnitudes at 4:27 a.m.

Some people felt them in North Chattanooga and Ooltewah. They were also felt as far away as Atlanta and Nashville.

A St. Elmo woman told of the sewing machine that she uses as a night table by her bed rattling. 

The epicenters were at Spring City and Ten Mile.

The quakes were the strongest in the area in decades.
 
One quake was dangerously close to the Watts Bar Nuclear Power on Watts Bar Lake. It was centered only several thousand feet from the plant and nearby dam. Engineers were inspecting the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant as a precaution.  It is designed to withstand a larger quake.

TVA officials said the earthquake did not cause any damage or disruptions to its operations.
 
TVA's Jim Hopson said, "In East Tennessee you have to go all the way back to the 1800s to get to the most significant earthquake, which was above a 6.0. Today's 4.4 is not even close to what we're designed to withstand, which is above a 6.0 earthquake." An earthquake greater than 6.0 would cause operations at Watts Bar to shut down, it was stated.

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