Update: Now 15 small earthquakes near Weaverville, NC since Sunday.

Something odd is going on just north of Weaverville, NC. Since Sunday, there have been 15  microquakes within a mile radius.  What could be going on?

The magnitude of these quakes have been between M1.1 to as high as M 2.5.  They all have been very shallow as well. While it is not unusually to have small quakes in the Western Carolinas this many over such a short period and centered over such a small area is odd.

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My suspicion is this might be due to mining, drilling or construction in the area. There was a similar swarm near Boone where they were blasting part of the mountain away for the HWY 321 widening. To my knowledge though I don’t know of any there. There are no waste water injection wells in this area, so that is not the cause. It could just be natural as well as mountains settle and shifts over time.

Update: It’s likely Drought Conditions:

One of my suspicions seems to make the most sense. Ground water and surface water levels are extremely low in this area. Satellite data shows this exact parts of Western North Carolina extremely low ground water levels. The lake of water and weight from surface water in this area might be triggering some shifting or reducing weight on an ancient fault. This seems to be the most plausible reason but with two more quakes in the past 24 hrs, it will interesting to see how long they go on for.

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  • USMC and America proud

    As a question, I have always been told that there is a fault line near there that is way past a major shake! Could this not be the area dissapating stress buildup to avoid a major event?

    • wxbrad

      There is a major fault near Charleston, SC.

    • TuckerdogNC

      Yes, obviously the earth is thinking about how to avoid a major event so it’s working at relieving stress. Perhaps we need to get a message to earth that we’ll cut back a little on its destruction for awhile so it can get some much needed rest. 🙂

  • Vicky Galloway

    There was a quake of some magnitude during the later part of the 1960’s in western N.C. It seems as if we had some minor tremors then. Could this be from the same fault line giving warning?

  • Lori Parrish

    It could also be God telling us that the end is near

  • Professor Frink

    These are honest to goodness earthquakes. Here’s the up-down motion seismogram for the M2.5 from a station about 35 km away: http://service.adc1.iris.edu/irisws/timeseries/1/query?net=N4&sta=V53A&cha=BHZ&start=2016-04-25T14:43:29&end=2016-04-25T14:44:29&scale=AUTO&demean=true&output=plot&loc=–

    If this was an explosion of some kind, the P-wave (first) would have been larger than the S-wave (second). Earthquakes have most of their energy in the S-wave, which is what you see here.

    Also, shakes from work like that is almost always confined to the daytime hours, since usually the people responsible are at home in bed at night.

  • David Lainez

    There should be killer natural mother nature type of disasters anywhere near drilling, mining and oiling so that it can stop and we can just ultimately depend on the sun for a source of energy.

    • Heather J Burchett

      Some of us have kids in that school the quakes are centered near. All well and good to have a good quake but please God not when my son is in school.. Technically there are two schools right in the zone..

  • spaulds

    I hope it’s not from dynamite due to construction!!!!! Thanks for this great article Brad!!! 🙂