Three SC Earthquakes in a Week: A Warning?

6:18 PM, Jul 31, 2012   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Residents on the South Carolina coast may have a felt a slight rumbling Tuesday morning due to an earthquake; in fact, it was the third one in the state over the past week.

Anyone who has ever been in an earthquake will tell you, It leaves a lasting impression on you.

Living through a large earthquake hasn't only been an experience for James Knapp, as a professor at USC's School of Earth and Ocean Science, studying earthquakes is his job.

"It's a very unsettling feeling when everything around you is moving, there's really no place for you to go and seek shelter," shared Knapp.
In the past week, South Carolina has experienced three small earthquakes; a 2.0 magnitude in Spartanburg County, a 2.5 in Chesterfield County and 2.8 in Charleston County.

"It turns out that South Carolina has one of the higher earthquake hazards in the eastern United States," said Knapp.
"SC is a somewhat unusual place to have earthquakes because in fact, most earthquakes take place at boundaries between tectonic plates of the earth, and yet here in SC we're not on a plate boundary. We don't fully understand all of the factors that go into generating  seismicity in the interior of a plate."

The Charleston 7.3 magnitude quake of 1886 may come to mind when you think earthquakes in the south; however, Knapp says the frequency of the recent small rumblings doesn't mean people need to panic.
"Data suggests that the recurrence interval is on the order of every 500 years to have a major earthquake like a 7.0. It's not definitive but it certainly gives us the sense that it may be premature for a large earthquake like that to take place anytime in the near future."

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