Experts, leaders, residents weigh in on Giles County earthquake

PEARISBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) UPDATE

An expert says Wednesday's earthquake is the first to be strong enough to be felt since the 1990s.

"This is the first time in my life that I immediately knew it was an earthquake. It was like boom! It shook me", said Chris Sokol, who felt the effects of the earthquake. "It felt like something, like a really big tree fell near the house. So I actually went outside, walked around the house and realized that it was an earthquake."

Others say they didn't feel the shaking.

The Giles County Sheriff's Office says they received dozens of call asking if it was an earthquake or something else, while others took to social media wondering if it was an explosion or a car that may have hit their home.

A Geophysics professor at Virginia Tech says the damage should be minimal.

"The shaking probably wasn't strong enough to knock anything off of a shelf", says Martin Chapman, an associate Geophysics professor at Virginia Tech.

One man said on our Facebook page the earthquake cracked his floor while another resident said she saw her neighbor's porch move.

Giles County says they found a wall cracked in the Giles County Tech Center that must be assessed before kids can go back in that room in the school.

Chapman says he's not sure if this means bigger earthquakes are to come -- it's impossible to predict.

But since this area has seen many earthquakes in its history, Chapman doesn't doubt that this is the last one we'll see.

ORIGINAL

Giles County leaders are working to determine whether damage discovered in a county school Wednesday afternoon is related to an earthquake that occurred in the area.

Giles County administrator Chris McKlarney tells WDBJ7 that damage was discovered in a computer lab at the Giles County Technology Center, shortly after an earthquake was observed in nearby Monroe County, West Virginia around 1:30 PM Wednesday.

McKlarney said county leaders are unsure whether the damage existed prior to the earthquake.

The computer lab will remain closed to students and teachers until engineers have an opportunity to determine whether the room is safe to be occupied, McKlarney said.