NC Geological Survey Team visit site of recent earthquake

Friday, August 21, 2020 - 11:22am
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
NCGS staff were able to use drone technology to identify the surface expression of fault movement, the dark line in the grass, from the August 9 earthquake in Sparta, NC.
 
North Carolina Geological Survey (NCGS) staff members visited the site of the August 9 5.1 magnitude earthquake that hit about 2 miles from Sparta, North Carolina. The purpose of the visit was to document the damage, collect data about the movement at the fault, and add information for inclusion in the NCGS database for the future preparation of landslide hazard maps.
 
According to the North Carolina Geological Survey, it was the strongest quake to shake the state since 1926. There were no reports of significant injuries, but there was damage to structures and roads in the local area.
 
NCGS, along with partners from the US Geological Survey, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University, used drones to identify the fault and the ground movement along the fault by the surface expression of soil displacement.  According to Rick Wooten, Senior Geologist for Geological hazards and Engineering Geology, ‘this is among the first times in NC, we were able to document this phenomenon.’
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
NCGS staff were able to use drone technology to identify the surface expression of fault movement, the dark line in the grass, from the August 9 earthquake in Sparta, NC.
 
NCGS had two goals post-earthquake. The first was the scientific mission of understanding this fault and what happened with this earthquake and describing the potential for it happen again.  This work was in support of the Alleghany County emergency management efforts to aid the local community. Also, mapping the areas where the ground broke, and landslides occurred during this seismic event helped the NCGS identity area that could produce hazards in future heavy rain events.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jesse Hill and Bart Cattanach, both NCGS geologists, examine the fault in Sparta, NC, from a freshly dug trench. Cattanach is pointing to the August 9 fault. The fault movement was from left to right. The metal siding on the building in the background was deformed by the ground motion from the earthquake.
 
North Carolina Geological Survey staff will continue to use technology and community collaboration to provide science-based environmental stewardship for the health and prosperity of all North Carolinians.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: 
DEMLR Public Information Officer