The quake, whose epicenter is in Allegheny County, was felt as far away as South Carolina and Georgia, according to social media posts. It rang around 8:07 a.m. ET.Information on damage in the area was not immediately available, but the USGS says earthquakes are becoming destructive at magnitude 4.0 to 5.0, depending on the variables.
A magnitude 5.3 earthquake is considered a moderate earthquake, according to the USGS.
The agency has issued a green alert, which means there is a low probability of casualties and damage.
The earthquake rumbled to a depth of about 5.7 miles, which is considered a shallow earthquake. Earthquakes shallower than 43 miles tend to be more destructive than deeper ones.
Sparta is approximately 100 miles north of Charlotte.