Earthquake Reported in Kentucky Saturday - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Earthquake Reported in Kentucky Saturday

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WHITESBURG, Ky.- The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting an earthquake has occurred in eastern Kentucky, but it rattled at least three other states.

Shortly after 11:00 Saturday morning, calls flooded into the NewsChannel 5 newsroom from people reporting an earthquake.

"Earthquakes in the eastern part of the United States are very different from those in the west. Here in the east, you can typically feel the earthquakes 10 times further than you can in the west, and it's because of the topology of the ground underneath us," explains Jeremy Heidt with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

"No damage here in Tennessee, fortunately a 4 magnitude is a small earthquake," he added.

The USGS website said the epicenter of the 4.3 magnitude earthquake on Saturday afternoon was about 10 miles west of Whitesburg. That's in the Southeastern part of the state. Residents in eastern Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee reported feeling the temblor. That includes Putnam, Fentress, Pickett, Overton, DeKalb and Jackson Counties here in Tennessee.

National Weather Service spokesman Jeff Carico said employees at the office in Jackson, which is about 60 miles northwest of Whitesburg, felt the ground shake for about 15 seconds. He said the office has gotten a multitude of calls, but so far no one has reported any serious damage.

The quake caused cracks in the walls of the Letcher County Courthouse in Kentucky. Officials were there all day Saturday checking out the building to see how bad the damage really is.

"It is a lot of damage," said Jim Ward, Letcher County Judge. "What kind of concerns me (is) we've got cracks on the corner, that means they're taking weight.

The quake is reportedly the second strongest on record in Kentucky.  The strongest was a quake that hit Bath County in 1980.

There are reports of minor damage from Saturday's quake, but no one was seriously hurt.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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