Expert: This was second-strongest earthquake Georgians felt in recent history

You probably know by now: An earthquake and three aftershocks rattled north Georgia early Wednesday. 

Many in metro Atlanta thought they were dreaming when they woke up to their homes rattling. 

"It felt like something or somebody was in the room shaking things, and I woke up startled," Doug Hooker told Channel 2 Action News.

At Georgia Institute of Technology, a digital seismograph recorded the early-morning 4.4 magnitude earthquake that hit eastern Tennessee but was felt a state away.

"In recent times, this is certainly the second-strongest that we’ve felt. The strongest we felt in recent times was the 2003 4.6 earthquake," professor Andrew Newman said. "Eastern United States is not nearly as fractured as the western United States in part because we have fewer earthquakes, so since we are less fractured, the earthquakes travel a lot further."

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Although what many experienced is rare for the southeast, it could happen again.

"There is a potential for larger magnitude events. You know, since we see magnitude 4 events every 5 to 10 years, so we have potential for magnitude 5 events every 50 to 100 years," Newman said.

Hooker admits he was a little startled by the shaking in his bedroom. After all, it was his first earthquake.

"Well I survived it. I'm grateful for that," Hooker said.

Whitney Green lives in Cobb County. His house also trembled.

"I was up late. We've been hanging some cabinets upstairs and I felt something and thought the cabinets were falling off the walls 'cause the dogs went crazy," Green said.

Christina Goss felt it at her home in Smyrna.

"I'm laying in the bed; I didn't have to get up yet, so I'm laying in bed and literally I just felt shaking, like it was just shaking. I'm like, 'What's going on?'" Goss said.

Newman said aftershocks are still possible for a couple days.

Experts say if you ever experience a strong earthquake, whether it be east or out west, follow the following three steps.

  1. Drop to the ground.
  2. Take cover under something like a table.
  3. Hold on tight.

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