RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina isn’t known for seismic activity, but this weekend, the state experienced its 20th earthquake in 2023.
According to data from the United States Geological Survey, tremblor No. 20 happened Saturday morning in western North Carolina near the border with Tennessee. The epicenter of the magnitude 2.4 shaker was located approximately 4.6 miles west-southwest of Bryson City.
Most earthquakes recorded in the state have a magnitude of 2.5 or less, but the largest one to occur in North Carolina this year was a magnitude 3.2 quake that shook up West Canton on June 4.
Nearly all of the earthquakes this year have occurred in the western part of the state, but one took Hillsborough by surprise in October.
The magnitude 2.2 quake — which wasn’t confirmed until the next day — generated a loud boom and caused buildings to shake, even leading to some evacuations.
Unlike in South Carolina, there are no active fault lines running through North Carolina, making the overall risk for quakes low. However, the state did experience a 5.1-magnitude one in the Sparta area in August of 2020.
Earthquakes are caused by underground rock failures that relieve stress on the earth’s crust, according to the USGS. The agency says about 20,000 quakes occur worldwide each year, equating to about 55 earthquakes around the globe each day.