Concord University Hosting Live Public Webinar on Sparta Earthquake

ATHENS, W.Va. – Concord University’s Environmental Geosciences program is hosting a live online presentation on this summer’s earthquake near Sparta, N.C. The public is invited to attend this free online lecture and live Q&A on Thursday, Oct. 15th, 2020. The talk by North Carolina Geological Survey geologist Dr. Jesse S. Hill will begin at 1:10 p.m. This public presentation is part of Concord University’s celebration of international Earth Science Week.

On Aug. 9th, 2020 a shallow magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck near Sparta. The earthquake was widely felt across multiple states, with more than 80,000 “Did You Feel It?” reports submitted to the U.S. Geological Survey as of 1 p.m. the same day. Near the epicenter, people experienced strong shaking, and more than 500 buildings were damaged in what was North Carolina’s strongest earthquake in just over a century. It is also the first documented modern earthquake in the southern Appalachians to have broken and shifted (ruptured) the ground surface.  Although major earthquakes are rare in the eastern U.S., multiple seismic zones do exist in the region, and future earthquakes are expected.

Dr. Hill’s talk will describe the Sparta event as well as the nature of earthquake research and earthquake hazards in the Appalachian region. He will include some of the key things discovered by studying the Sparta earthquake. He will also talk briefly about how and why he became interested in geoscience and what a career in natural hazards is like.

Dr. Hill currently works for the North Carolina Geological Survey as a Geohazards Geologist, and is part of the landslide hazard mapping team, based out of the Asheville regional office.  He received a B.S. in Earth Sciences from Tennessee Technological University in 2011, and a M.S. and PhD in geological sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013 and 2018, respectively.  His work centers on young faults and fracture zones in the southern Appalachians and how these structures influence the modern landscape and the stability of hillsides. On Twitter he is known as JessTheGeologist and may be followed as @drrocktagon.

To participate in this webinar, all are asked to register in advance using the following link: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing details about joining the webinar. During registration there is also an opportunity to provide questions for the speaker in advance of the event. Additional questions will be taken live during the presentation.

This webinar will be recorded. Following the event, the recording will be made available on the Concord University YouTube channel:

Dr. Stephen Kuehn, an Associate Professor of Geology at Concord, will be hosting the webinar. For additional information about the event, please contact Dr. Kuehn at

Concord University’s Environmental Geosciences program is part of the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences. Program information may be found on the web at and via social media on Facebook @ConcordGeoscience and @EGLatCU and on Twitter @CUGeology and @CU_in_the_field.

Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679 extension 6086 if special assistance is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.


Sarah M. Pritchett
Concord University
Office of Advancement
PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712
(304) 384-6312,

After 4 p.m.
Office: 304-384-5211
Cell: 304-320-6405

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