Earthquakes: Why are they happening in South Carolina?

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 6:49 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Well, if you think we’ve had more earthquakes in South Carolina than usual, you’re not wrong!

Most of the quakes have been near Columbia in the Elgin and Lugolf area.

The director of the South Carolina Seismic Network, Scott White, says we are experiencing a seismic swarm.

We talked with White about how unusual this is and if there is any need to worry.

White says there have been over 50 earthquakes recently around the Elgin and Lugoff area which has led to the classification of a seismic swarm.

While swarms are rare for South Carolina, there usually is a sequence of earthquakes.

“We have a sequence of earthquakes, maybe four earthquakes or 10 earthquakes over the course of a few days or a month and that happens every couple of years,” said White.

The Elgin and Lugoff area lie on top of an ancient fault line called the Eastern Piedmont Fault System. It is unlikely that this fault zone will produce a larger earthquake.

White says the most we have to worry about locally is a book falling off the shelf above our bed, so it’s best to remove those.

If you do find yourself in a strong earthquake, it’s best to take steps to get inside, away from windows and best to get under a doorway to ensure safety practices.

Scientists, like White, rely on public reports to determine intensity maps. If you think you felt an earthquake, you can go to the USGS website to make a report.

It’s good to hear we don’t have to worry about something worse coming down the line from all this activity recently.

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