Late-Breaking Session

USGS map of the 9 August 2020 earthquake near Sparta, NC
Earthquake near Sparta, NC, 9 August 2020 / Credit: USGS

Current Understanding of Intraplate Seismicity and Surface Deformation Associated with the August 9th, 2020 Mw 5.1 Earthquake Near Sparta, North Carolina

Wednesday, 28 October 2020: 1:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m., EDT, GSA e-Attend Platform, Auditorium

Immediately after the Mw 5.1 August 9, 2020 earthquake near Sparta, NC, several academic, federal, state, and county entities began assessing and cataloging damage. Preliminary field mapping, unmanned aerial vehicle assessments, and trenching indicated recent surface rupture along a previously unknown SSW-dipping reverse fault herein named the Little River fault. This is the first documented surface rupture of a fault directly related to a modern earthquake in the southern Appalachian Blue Ridge, but there are other zones of enhanced seismicity in the southern and central Appalachians that remain enigmatic. This late-breaking session will provide information from these ongoing investigations.

Session Chairs

Jesse Hill
Kevin Stewart
Paula Figueiredo
Arthur Merschat


GSA Environmental and Engineering Geology Division


Stéphane Baize; Paula M. Figueiredo; Stephen P. Horton; Jens-Erik Lund Snee; Arthur J. Merschat; Ariadne Parra; Corey M. Scheip; Kevin G. Stewart