Six earthquakes shake Maryville area

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has confirmed six seismic events took place in the Maryville area in the late morning and early afternoon hours of Friday and early morning Saturday.

According to the USGS, all the earthquakes registered magnitudes between M1 and M3. The most intense activity took place between 12:30 and 1:00 on Friday, beginning with a 2.0 magnitude earthquake and followed by a M2.4 earthquake at 12:57 p.m. and another M1.5 just after 1:00 p.m.

The earthquakes were small, so why could you feel some of them? Tuckaleechee Caverns has a sensitive seismograph that detects earthquakes all over the world. Manager Ben Vananda said one of Friday's quakes was shallow, and that's why so many people reported feeling it, "It was a very shallow earthquake, and from what we have gathered so far, the epicenter was below the hospital and the justice department."

Four of the six earthquakes were in the area Southwest of downtown Maryville near Foothills Mall and Maryville High School. The epicenter of the strongest 2.4 quake was along the northbound ramp from Broadway Ave to Alcoa Highway.

The weakest earthquake took place along Joule St in Alcoa at 1:01 p.m. on Friday. A sixth earthquake happened Saturday morning.

The earthquakes originated from a seismic area known as the East Tennessee Seismic Zone, which stretches from Northern Alabama to Southwest Virginia. Earthquake activity is is common in this area, with the vast majority of earthquakes registering a magnitude of 2.0 or lower.