Rare back-to-back earthquakes detected in Alabama this week

Published 6:15 am Saturday, November 13, 2021

Parts of Central Alabama were shaken by minor earthquakes last week — so minor that very few people would have felt the tremors.

According to the US Geological Service, the first earthquake happened northwest of downtown Clanton on Nov. 6.

The second earthquake happened one day later on Nov. 7, northwest of Eutaw in rural Greene County.

Both tremors were rated magnitude 2.4 on the Richter scale, which is considered minor and the likelihood is that neither one was felt by many people — if any.

It’s not rare to have earthquakes — especially minor ones — detected in Alabama and the surrounding region. It is a little more unusual to have two earthquakes detected on consecutive days.

Going back to the late 1800s, the state of Alabama has recorded 399 earthquakes — an average of about three per year.

Some years have more earthquakes than others. The two earthquakes detected this week are the only ones recorded for the state in 2021. Eight earthquakes were detected in 2020 and 17 were detected in 2019.

Although this week’s tremors were minor on the Richter scale, Alabama has been impacted by earthquakes as strong as magnitude 5.2, 4.9 and 4.6. Those occurred in Irondale, Escambia County and Fort Payne, respectively.

Earthquakes of those varieties were likely felt by many more people and could have caused some minor damage near their epicenters.