A magnitude 4.4 earthquake struck eastern Tennessee early Wednesday morning and could be felt in Northeast Georgia and metro Atlanta, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The light earthquake occurred about 4:15 a.m., and was centered about 7 miles northeast of Decatur, Tenn., a city northeast of Chattanooga and about a three-hour drive from Gainesville.
About 15 minutes later, a 3.3 magnitude aftershock struck.
On one social media thread shared with The Times, residents of Hall County and their friends said they were momentarily perplexed by the tremor.
“This morning’s earthquake woke me up,” Arturo Adame, who lives in East Hall, said on Facebook. “I felt my house shake” for about six to eight seconds.
Adame thought that, perhaps, a family member in his home had started the washer. Or was it just the trash truck rumbling past?
“It’s funny, when you’re in ‘danger’ in the comfort of your own warm bed, you don’t fear death,” Adame said. “I was just like, ‘I guess this is my time, I’m not getting up.’”
Adame’s friend, Erin Parks, had a similar reaction, she said.
“At first, I thought it was my dogs scratching and bumping against the bed,” Parks said. “Then when it registered to me, I was like, ‘Oh, OK. I’m going back to sleep.’”
With an LOL, Parks added, “If it’s not strong enough to cancel work, it’s not strong enough to get out of bed for.”
There didn’t appear to be any immediate reports of injuries, according to the Associated Press, but people definitely felt it.
Emergency 911 dispatchers in Tennessee said some people reported their beds shaking and dishes rattling.
The Tennessee Valley Authority said engineers were inspecting the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant as a precaution, but the facility didn’t appear to be affected and was continuing to operate safely.
It turns out that, according to the USGS, the Eastern Tennessee seismic zone is one of the most active earthquake areas in the entire Southeast.
The zone extends across parts of Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.
And with that in mind, Hall resident Diana Vela-Martinez summed up the sentiments of those who slept through the whole thing.
“I’m more concerned about the fact that everyone felt this earthquake … and I didn’t,” she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.