A small earthquake jolted Dalton — yes Dalton — around noon, according to officials at the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville.
“The earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 2.7 and was centered 1 mile west-southwest and occurred about 5 miles deep,” said Julian Gray, the museum’s curator and resident geologist. “These relatively small earthquakes are not that rare, but they are exciting when they do occur.” The area has periodic — about every five to 10 years — minor earthquakes such as the one that struck Dalton, Gray said.
In Dalton, no damage was reported, but the courthouse was evacuated for a short time.
Georgia Emergency Management Agency officials said authorities first thought the tremors might be mild aftershocks from an earthquake this morning in Dyersburg, Tenn. But seismic data found the event to be a separate and more powerful earthquake. The Dyersburg quake, a magnitude 2.5, occurred at about 6:35 a.m. about 5 miles north of Dyersburg and 76 miles northeast of Memphis.
Several people called the Tellus museum with reports that they felt the earthquake, Gray added.
James Kelley, of h2b creative, was in a meeting in downtown Dalton on Hamilton Street when people heard two loud booms, his building began to shake and windows rattled, he said. “Our immediate thought was that someone had run into our building. Some of us went outside to find the sidewalks full of others wondering what had just happened,” Kelley said in an email. “Being in the downtown area, our thoughts shifted to a possible explosions, but there were no sirens. After a few minutes, we agreed, it must have been an earthquake.” He later tweeted about it.