Yes, it was an earthquake, although for our area it was just a tremor. A 5.1-magnitude earthquake hit about two miles from Sparta at 8:06 AM Sunday morning (Aug. 9th). Sparta is in Alleghany County, near North Carolina's border with Virginia.
It was the strongest quake to shake the state since 1926, according to the North Carolina Geological Survey.
The quake was felt as far away as Washington, DC and Atlanta, according to reports to the USGS. In our area, it actually shook houses, but did no damage.
In Sparta, the Food Lion supermarket had cans, jars and bottles knocked off shelves onto the floor. No injuries had been reported early Sunday afternoon, but several homes in and near Sparta suffered some damage. One TV video showed a home with the top portion of its stone chimney toppled by the quake.
There is a chance that more tremors might occur over the next several days, and a very slight possibility that a larger quake could occur. The chances of that, according to the US Geological Survey, is estimated at about four percent.