Earthquake Study Helps Prepare For Future Geological Events

Earthquake Study Helps Prepare For Future Geological Events

3:00pm Aug 28, 2020
Jesse Hill and Bart Cattanach, both NCGS geologists, examine the fault in Sparta, NC, from a freshly dug trench. Cattanach is pointing to the August 9 fault. The fault movement was from left to right. The metal siding on the building in the background was deformed by the ground motion from the earthquake. Image courtesy of NC Department of Environmental Quality.
  • Jesse Hill and Bart Cattanach, both NCGS geologists, examine the fault in Sparta, NC, from a freshly dug trench. Cattanach is pointing to the August 9 fault. The fault movement was from left to right. The metal siding on the building in the background was deformed by the ground motion from the earthquake. Image courtesy of NC Department of Environmental Quality.

  • NCGS staff were able to use drone technology to identify the surface expression of fault movement, the dark line in the grass, from the August 9 earthquake in Sparta, NC. Image courtesy of NC Department of Environmental Quality.

  • NCGS staff were able to use drone technology to identify the surface expression of fault movement, the dark line in the grass, from the August 9 earthquake in Sparta, NC. Image courtesy of NC Department of Environmental Quality.

Members of the North Carolina Geological Survey visited the site of the recent earthquake that hit near Sparta and was felt as far north as Baltimore and south as Atlanta. Their findings will help the state prepare for future seismic events.

The 5.1 magnitude earthquake was the strongest in the state since 1926. While no major injuries were reported, there was damage to area roads and structures.

Geologists collected data in order to prepare updated landslide hazard maps. Drones were used to identify soil displacement and ground changes near the fault line. This is one of the first times experts have been able to document earthquakes in the state in this way.

NCGS says they have two post-earthquake goals. 

The first is to understand the quake in detail in order to estimate the potential for another event like it to occur. 

The second is to map the areas where the ground broke and where landslides happened. This will help to spot future hazard areas during heavy rains and extreme weather events. 

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