Pair of earthquakes recorded in Hancock County lake boonies


The Lake Sinclair counties, which of course include Baldwin, are home to one of the most seismically active areas in Georgia, receiving hundreds of earthquakes every year.

Very, very rarely are any of the tremors actually felt, however. Nevertheless, that was the case on Sunday, as a pair of quakes just across the county line in the Hancock County lake boonies were recored by the United States Geological Survey. Both quakes' epicenters were right around the Carrs Station Road/Lake Sinclair Drive area.

The first occurred at 3:33 a.m. and registered 2.3 on the magnitude scale, while the second was recorded at 9:07 a.m. and 2.2 in magnitude.  Facebook chattered ensued, with some residents near the epicenters posting that they "heard a boom" and felt light shaking. According to the USGS' "intensity of shaking chart," any earthquake below a 3.9 on the magnitude scale is listed as "light perceived shaking" and the "potential for damage" as "none."

Many years have past since a "seismically significant" earthquake has had its epicenter in Baldwin County.


Tim Long, now a retired seismology professor at Georgia Tech, said in an interview several years ago that there's "a long history of earthquakes in the Milledgeville/Baldwin County area."

"It's an area that's among the most active in Georgia," Long said at the time.

Long added that the Lake Sinclair counties receive "hundreds of earthquakes each year, but added that "99.9-something percent are tiny and cannot be felt."

The culprit, according to Long, is the man-made Lake Sinclair, which has caused sediments to shift since it first came into existence more than 60 years ago.

So, what's the worst that could happen, in terms of a localized earthquake?

"Once every hundred years of so, you may see a 4.5 or 5 magnitude earthquake. That's when you could see things knocked off of shelves or cracks in cinder blocks or foundations," Long said. "That's about as bad as it could possibly get."

If you're really into earthquakes and/or really bored, HERE'S another breakdown from another Georgia Tech expert.

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