UK Seismologist Breaks Down Earthquakes Impact On Kentucky

Contributor: Ellen Bryan
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Updated: 11/12/2012 12:47 am

Saturday afternoon people in Southeast Kentucky found themselves in the middle of an earthquake. No one was hurt and little damage was reported.

University of Kentucky Seismologist Seth Carpenter said people in Letcher County weren’t the only ones who felt the earthquake.

“People north of Columbus, Ohio and south of Atlanta felt this earthquake and that's about 5-600 miles away,” Letcher said. “That's significant."

Carpenter said this quake has been thousands of years in the making as a result of mountain building.

“This earthquake occurred in what's called the eastern Tennessee seismic zone,” he said. “That zone is the product of old mountain building with remnant faults and those processes."

The area where the quake originated is in the heart of coal mining territory, but Carpenter says it didn’t impact coal mining.

“This earthquake was deep enough that is has almost nothing to do with coal mining,” Letcher said. “This was located 12 miles deep. That's unrelated to mining at all."

Carpenter said there isn’t much else to study from this earthquake, but says the research gained will be vital in tracking more earthquakes in the area in the future.

He added that aftershocks have been reported across the region and could potentially still be felt in the near future; but that those shocks will have little to no effect on people in the region.

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