Small earthquake rocks East Tennessee

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MONROE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) – The U.S. Geological Survey confirms a small earthquake shook East Tennessee on Wednesday morning.

It happened at 7:52 AM and had a magnitude of 1.0.

USGS officials say its epicenter was located six miles southwest of Madisonville in a field near the intersection of Plaza Drive and Pleasant Drive. The exact location of the quake was 10.4 miles underground.

Most of the region sits in the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone which is considered to be one of the most active earthquake areas in the southeast. The zone extends across Tennessee, Northwestern Georgia and Northeastern Alabama. The most powerful earthquake to strike the region was a 4.6 magnitude quake which occurred on April 29th, 2003 near Fort Payne, Alabama.

Several small quakes have been recorded across East Tennessee over the last few months. At least three quakes occurred over seven days in late December 2008. All three were within 75 miles of TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant. The series of quakes have led to minor speculation on if they played a role in the December 22nd coal ash spill that flooded the acres of surrounding land with more than one billion gallons of burned coal by-product.

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