Geologists discuss history of earthquakes in the CSRA

By: Patrick Price Email
By: Patrick Price Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, April 26, 2013

LINCOLNTON, Ga. (WRDW) -- Earthquakes in the CSRA aren't too common, but after one hit Lincolnton, Ga., geologists are studying how we could be affected in the future.

"People are stimulated to learn geology, the morning after an earthquake," said Allen Dennis, a geologist at USC Aiken.

It's the day after the Lincolnton earthquake and he's already explaining the ins and outs of what's been going on.

"In the past 40 years, there have been probably 50 small quakes, 30 of those occurred over a six-month period," Dennis said.

And that's a little too much activity for some folks in the area to stomach, even this geologist.

"You felt a big wave travel through the house, almost like a train drove outside by our house," he told News 12.

These tremors relieve stress built up in the earth's crust.

But a slight shake is nothing compared to some of the most infamous quakes in the Southeast, including one that happened not even 200 miles away.

"When people think about earthquakes in South Carolina, the first thing they think about is the Charleston earthquake," he said.

The 7.3-magnitude quake happened in 1886.

"It was felt west of Columbus, Ga.," he said.

It even knocked trains from their tracks in Aiken County.

And the possibility of history repeating itself is something Dennis doesn't like to think about.

"If a quake like the Charleston quake occurred anywhere in the Southeast today, it would be a major catastrophe," Dennis said.

But his research suggests the chances are low.

"I think the risk is not great, but I think you need to be prepared when trouble comes," he said.

And for those who felt the shaking early Friday morning, they can breathe a sigh of relief.

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