3.5-magnitude earthquake shakes West TN - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

3.5-magnitude earthquake shakes West TN

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

An earthquake shook areas around Tipton and Lauderdale County on Tuesday at 8:26 a.m.

According to United States Geological Survey, a 3.47-magnitude earthquake happened near Covington, Tennessee.  Initially, USGS reported the earthquake as a 3.4, but then rounded that number up to 3.5.

WMC Action News 5 viewers reported feeling the earthquake all over western Tennessee and in parts of eastern Arkansas.

Many local farmers in Covington were just setting up their stands when they said they felt the ground shake.

"I was just sitting down and I was inside of a building and it was just shaking, so I thought it was construction or something," said Covington resident Kiana Burnett.

Covington Mayor Justin Hanson said he has not heard any reports of damage.

University of Memphis Earthquake Center's Gary Patterson also said he did not think an earthquake of this magnitude would likely cause much damage.

Just to be safe, the Covington-Tipton County Emergency Management Agency said they asked TDOT to inspect the Hatchie Bridge on Highway 51 N. They added there is no cause for alarm, crews were just checking out the bridge for cautionary reasons.

Fire officials and city code enforcement trucks rode around town after the earthquake to double-check for any serious damage.

The moment the earthquake hit Covington, scientists at the earthquake center in Memphis began watching it on their earthquake tracking equipment.

For Mitch Withers and the team, tracking and analyzing Covington area tremors was all in a day’s work.

"What it means for the local person is if you were in Covington and weren't in a car or something, or was just sitting somewhere, you probably felt an earthquake this morning, and that’s about all it means,” Withers said.

Building code enforcement officials in Shelby County agree.

"That's not so serious, it won't collapse a building,” said Allen Medlock.

Code enforcement officials said that had the Covington area earthquake been twice its size, we would have seen significant damage, because the Mid-South is in the new Madrid fault zone. The pyramid and some other buildings have been shored up to protect against earthquakes.

All new construction in the area must follow seismic designs.

Scientists pointed out how important it is for buildings to be able to withstand an earthquake, because while the “big one” did not hit this time, chances are, it will happen in the future.

"This area does produce large damaging earthquakes, just not every year,” Withers said.

To see a list of earthquakes in the area over the past year, click here.

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