An early-morning earthquake in East Tennessee was widely felt across the Southeast on Wednesday.
The magnitude 4.4 quake struck around 4:14 a.m. EST, centered about 7 miles north-northeast of Decatur, Tennessee, in Meigs County, about 55 miles west-southwest of Knoxville.
It was followed about 12 minutes later by a magnitude 3.3 aftershock.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, light shaking was observed over most of the Atlanta metro area, and a number of states from southern Alabama to South Carolina, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
This quake was one of the strongest on record in east Tennessee, exceeded only by a Nov. 30, 1973 tremor near Maryville, south of Knoxville, which led to minor damage near the epicenter.
A 2014 USGS study bumped a portion of the ETSZ to a higher risk of earthquakes, though not nearly as high as the New Madrid zone in the western part of Tennessee and other adjacent states.
Though quakes stronger than M4.7 have not been recorded in recent times, a 2017 study in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America found evidence of a magnitude 6 or stronger temblor along the ETSZ within the last 25,000 years.
Earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S. can be felt over an area more than 10 times larger than a similar magnitude quake in the West, according to the USGS.