Experts break down Tuesday morning’s earthquake north of Covington

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Experts at the Center for Earthquake Research and Information at the University of Memphis shed light on Tuesday morning's earthquake north of Covington.

Director of Seismic and Computer Networks Mitch Withers said the quake registered a 3.5 magnitude and happened at 8:26 a.m. The earthquake was about six miles north of Covington in Lauderdale County.

Most reports to the U.S. Geological Survey suggest it produced a "light" shake.

"The lion's share of current earthquakes are on the central fault that runs southeast to northwest in northwest Tennessee," Withers said.

Tuesday's quake was a bit south of that, which means it was closer to Memphis than other small earthquakes recently.

"Is it unusual? In a sense. And in a sense no," Prof. Chris Cramer said. "Historically, there have been a trend of earthquakes that run through this area. Small ones, like this one."

Earthquakes in the Mid-South can make people jumpy based on what happened a couple hundred years ago.

"Today, I think that I am, just a little bit," Ripley resident Brooklynn Carmody said.

It is an event Prof. Kent Moran continues to research.

"In 1811 to 1812, the New Madrid seismic zone generated three major earthquakes, all over magnitude seven," Moran said.

All three experts WREG spoke with agreed there is clearly activity in this seismic system, but Tuesday's quake does not show an increased risk for something major.

"You shouldn't feel more alarmed today than you were yesterday," Withers said. "The probabilities of a damaging earthquake remain the same."

There were no reports of damage called in to WREG.

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