to view a preliminary report by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Officials say an earthquake measuring a magnitude of 4.5 on the Richter scale was reported at 3:39 p.m. Its epicenter was 30 miles west of Richmond. There is no word on the length of the tremors.
Tyler Clark, chief geologist for the North Carolina Geological Survey, said it was rare for the state to experience an earthquake like this.
"It does not happen very often. We have had 4.5 in the past -- both in North Carolina and Virginia especially," he said. "This is something that happens every 25, 50, 75 years."
The N.C. Division of Emergency Management was notified that minor vibrations were felt in 19 counties in North Carolina from the earthquake. The vibrations were felt as far west as Burke County, as far east as Chowan County and as far south as Johnston County.
There were no reports of damage in North Carolina.
Joyce Manning said she was on the third floor of the Nash County Sheriff's Office building when she felt the earthquake.
"I was working on the computer and it was like the building was in motion," she said.
Terri Cabot, whose family used to live in California, was in the kitchen of her house near Cameron Village when she felt the tremors. She said this quake was not as bad as the ones she has been through.
"This was very minor. We have been through some big ones, the biggest of which was the Northridge quake," she said. "This was much milder."
Clark said North Carolina has only had three earthquakes in the last 120 years that have been larger than Tuesday's event, but said it is only a matter of time before the next big one.
says it's only a matter of time until we get another big one.
"Eventually we will have a major earthquake somewhere in North Carolina. It could be in one year [or] it could be in 100 years from now," he said.
The last big earthquake centered in North Carolina was in 1916 in the western part of the state. The Waynesville quake had a 5.2 magnitude. A quake centered in South Carolina caused the most damage in North Carolina. The 1886 earthquake knocked down chimneys from Raleigh to Henderson to Charlotte.
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