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News Earthquake rumbles in Macon County

Last Thursday’s earthquake measuring 2.5 on the Richter Scale marks the third one within a year originating in the same area.Third measurable earthquake within a one year period.

A small earthquake rumbled about seven miles west of Cullowhee last Thursday morning around 6 a.m., and many local residents felt it in Franklin. It registered as a 2.5 on the Richter Scale according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

No damage was reported as a result of the quake and most people who felt it thought that it was a result of thunder. The largest earthquake ever reported in this area came in at a 5.1 on the Richter scale in 1916. According to the USGS small earthquakes are felt in the Carolinas about twice each year.

“I had just laid back down when the whole house shook,” said Larry Morris, a resident of Coon Creek Road located at the top of Cowee Mountain right outside of Franklin. “It shook the plates and glasses in the cabinets, but other than that there wasn't any damage as far as I can tell.

According to Morris, the earthquake that hit last year around the same time of year had a bigger impact.

“They said this one was bigger, but the one last year cracked an outdoor building I had. I had to go through the pains of dealing with the insurance. When I told the guy an earthquake caused the crack, he laughed. He thought I was kidding until he looked at the information that Coweeta Lab had gathered on it.”

In May 2012, an earthquake was recorded measuring a 1.7 magnitude in the same area. In June 2012, the USGS confirmed that a small, 2.0 magnitude earthquake shook the northern part of Macon County and the southern part of Jackson County, just southwest of Dillsboro.

Though earthquakes do not happen often around here, they do occur from time to time and most people never realize what is going on unless they are told. Morris said he went to a lot of his neighbors the next day to see what they thought about it, but they did not realize that it had been an earthquake.

“Most of them aren't from around here and they don't realize that we do have them. I've lived here for 22 years and never experienced it, but after the one last spring, it won't surprise me in the future.”

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