Earthquake strikes eastern Tennessee, felt in Atlanta

Early morning quake rattles Tennessee

DECATUR, Tenn. — A magnitude 4.4 earthquake struck eastern Tennessee and could be felt in Atlanta, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Engineers were inspecting the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in Tennessee as a precaution.

The light earthquake occurred Wednesday around 4:14 a.m. about 7 miles northeast of Decatur. About 13 minutes later, a 3.3 magnitude aftershock struck.

The Tennessee Valley Authority said the nuclear plant didn't appear to be affected and was continuing to operate safely. According to the USGS, the Eastern Tennessee seismic zone is one of the most active earthquake areas in the Southeast.

The zone extends across parts of Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. There didn't appear to be any immediate reports of injuries.

The earthquake was the second-strongest to hit eastern Tennessee, CBS affiliate WVLT-TV reports. A 4.7 magnitude earthquake struck in 1973.