Damage seen after 5.1 earthquake hits North Carolina

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HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP/AP)– A 5.1 earthquake centered in Sparta was felt across North Carolina on Sunday morning.

The earthquake was centered 54 miles northwest of Winston-Salem. It happened at 8:07 a.m., according to the official USGS report.

Many who felt the earthquake said it last 10-15 seconds. Several people reported feeling the quake in the Raleigh area.

Sunday’s 5.1 earthquake is the strongest earthquake to happen in North Carolina since 1916.

A viewer in Pfafftown said, “Around 8 a.m. this morning, our bedroom shook. We thought a tree had fallen, but then heard it was an earthquake.”

Michael Hull was standing in his driveway at his home in Sparta when he noticed a group of deer running.

“Not even a minute passed and the side-to-side motion started,” Hull said. “It takes you a minute to realize what’s happening, and you just can’t believe it. Then it was over. It was loud, like God was shaking a mountain at you, literally.”

Karen Backer was in her Greensboro apartment when she heard initially mistook banging in her kitchen for her roommate.

“Nope, it was the cabinet doors ‘clinking’ open and closed! My neighbors on the other hand said they felt our apartment building shaking,” Backer said. “Well, sadly, nothing surprises me in 2020, but a hurricane and an earthquake in the same week is crazy.”

It was the largest earthquake to hit the state since 1916, when a magnitude 5.5 quake occurred near Skyland, the weather service said.

The U.S. Geological Service said the quake’s epicenter was about 2.5 miles (four kilometers) southeast of Sparta, just south of the Virginia-North Carolina border. The USGS said the population in the affected region resides in structures “that are resistant to earthquake shaking, though vulnerable structures exist.”

The quake was felt in nearby states including Virginia, South Carolina and Tennessee.

  • Betty Sue Poole, who lives near Pine Swamp Road in Sparta, shared photos of the damage in her home after a 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit the area. (Courtesy of Betty Sue Poole)
  • Betty Sue Poole, who lives near Pine Swamp Road in Sparta, shared photos of the damage in her home after a 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit the area. (Courtesy of Betty Sue Poole)
  • Betty Sue Poole, who lives near Pine Swamp Road in Sparta, shared photos of the damage in her home after a 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit the area. (Courtesy of Betty Sue Poole)
  • Betty Sue Poole, who lives near Pine Swamp Road in Sparta, shared photos of the damage in her home after a 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit the area. (Courtesy of Betty Sue Poole)
  • Betty Sue Poole, who lives near Pine Swamp Road in Sparta, shared photos of the damage in her home after a 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit the area. (Courtesy of Betty Sue Poole)

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