How common are earthquakes in Georgia?

The Peach State has seen its share of seismic shakes, but most are smaller than 2.5 on the Richter scale

New Yorkers were awakened by a 4.8 earthquake Friday morning, a jolt few have experienced before. That’s happened here in Georgia, too.

Georgia has seen its fair share of thunderstorms and tornadoes, but many were shook when a 4.4 magnitude earthquake in central Tennessee woke them at 4:15 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018.

The quake was recorded near Decatur, Tennessee, about 150 miles north of downtown Atlanta.

But just how common are earthquakes in the Peach State?

These natural disasters are more prevalent in three major zones of the Earth: the circum-Pacific seismic belt, the Alpide and the mid-Atlantic ridge.

However, more than three dozen earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or greater have occurred in Georgia since 1974, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The latest was 10 months ago in Sparta, according to However, the state doesn’t have that many quakes compared to other areas.

In addition to the one last May, we had a 2.5 or greater shake-up in 2022, one in 2019, one in 2015, one in 2014 and four in 2013.

The largest ever recorded in Georgia happened in 1916. It was a 4.1 magnitude quake about 30 miles from Atlanta. The 2022 quake, in Metter, was a 3.9.

On the other hand, Alaska, Oklahoma and California register the most earthquakes in a given year, according to the USGS. In 2014, there were 585 M3 or greater earthquakes in Oklahoma and about 200 in California, government records show.

The largest ever recorded in Oklahoma — a 5.7 — was in 2011.

Georgia still has a number of fault lines, though, which is where most earthquakes occur.

The Brevard Fault Line, the best-known one, runs from Blue Ridge to Marietta. The Soque River Fault follows the Sogue River in the northeast, and Salacoa Creek is in northwest Cherokee County.