The epicenter is in Allegheny County, according to social media posts. The USGS received reports from more than 300 miles away in Atlanta.
It hit around 8:07 pm ET.
“It felt like a big locomotive was going and a big wave was coming under the bed,” said Sparta Mayor Wes Brinegar. “A big wave is coming to lift you.”
He said there are no immediate reports of any injuries, but some minor damage has occurred to the city of about 1,800 people.
The USGS states that earthquakes are destructive at a magnitude of 4.0 to 5.0 depending on the variable. The USGS states that 5.3-magnitude is considered a moderate earthquake.
He said Town Council Cole Edwards was also hit by the earthquake. He said that there was no damage to his house, but it broke some dishes and took some pictures from the wall.
“We are very scared people this morning,” Mayer said. “That was the most intense we’ve ever seen.”
The earthquake struck at a depth of about 5.7 miles, which is considered a shallow earthquake. The USGS states that more depths are more destructive than 43 miles.
Sparta is about 100 miles north of Charlotte.
The area sits between three seismic zones in Charleston, South Carolina, East Tennessee, and Central Virginia. Four small earthquakes, all 2.6-magnitude or less, fell near Sparta on Saturday and early Sunday. The USGS says two more temples exploded a few miles from Seymour, Tennessee, last weekend.
CNN’s Chandler Thornton and Chuck Johnson contributed to this report.