| Mentone, Ala. -- Geologists from the United States Geological Survey scoured parts of northeast Alabama this week, looking for damage from an early Tuesday morning 4.9 magnitude earthquake. The epicenter was east of Fort Payne, near Mentone. There were no injuries, but some damage was reported. A few chimneys were toppled and lights at a market fell to the ground. Cracks in some concrete and foundations were also reported. There was a brief power outage in Leesburg when a substation breaker tripped. The tremor, which shook around 4 AM CDT, could be felt from Birmingham to Atlanta and from Kentucky to the Carolinas.
Earthquakes aren't altogether rare in the Southeast. The strongest series of earthquakes to hit the United States occurred along the New Madrid Fault which runs parallel to the Mississippi River between Memphis, Tenn., and St. Louis. In 1811 and 1812, at least a half dozen quakes, all measuring at least 7.0 on the Richter Scale caused all kinds of problems nearby and rang church bells as far away as the Eastern Seaboard.