Small earthquake in southwest Virginia Wednesday night

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(WOWK) — A small earthquake registered in southwest Virginia tonight with a magnitude of 2.7. The initial report showed a 2.6 magnitude but was revised to 2.7.

The epicenter of the small quake is just a few hundred feet off the Appalachian Trail along Sugar Run Mountain in Giles County, Virginia about 6 miles south of Narrows, Virginia. The quake happened at 8:55 p.m. EDT and the actual depth of the quake is 18.5 kilometers or 11.5 miles under ground.

Not many people have reported feeling the quake to the U.S. Geological Survey. The “shake map” as it’s known, only shows a handful of reports from the public so far but that number may increase.

Earthquakes have happened in this area before of a much larger magnitude including a famous quake in 1897 that shook Giles County and surrounding areas with a magnitude 5.9 quake.

The USGS says small earthquakes do happen in this region of Appalachia from ancient faults buried deep beneath the surface.

The seismic zone is laced with known faults but numerous smaller or deeply buried faults remain undetected. Even the known faults are poorly located at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few, if any, earthquakes in the seismic zone can be linked to named faults. It is difficult to determine if a known fault is still active and could slip and cause an earthquake. As in most other areas east of the Rockies, the best guide to earthquake hazards in the seismic zone is the earthquakes themselves.


The Giles County Sheriff’s Department tells 13 News they have not received any calls of damage or injuries.

If you felt the shaking in that general area at that time, you can add your report to the USGS here.

Follow Spencer Adkins on Facebook and Twitter for the latest weather developments.

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