SC Listed as 'High Risk' for Earthquakes

A new federal earthquake map shows South Carolina is at a high risk for tremors.

The data comes from the U.S. Geological Survey, which did an extensive update of its earthquake maps for the first time since 2008. The agency made the maps to get a better understanding of where--and how often--earthquakes will occur.

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While earthquakes can happen in any state, the survey found that 16 states have a relatively high likelihood of experiencing damaging ground shaking. As you might expect, the highest chances were along the West Coast; however, an area in the center of the country near the Mississippi River and along the coastal part of South Carolina also fell in the elevated range.

The USGS notes that the the Lowcountry's earthquake hazard has gone up in the last six years based on an assessment of earthquakes in the state.

Charleston is the site of the strongest and most damaging East Coast earthquake in recorded history, when a 7.3 magnitude quake rattled the city in 1886, killing 60 people.

The East Coast in general saw an increase in potential danger, caused in part by the 2011 earthquake that struck Virginia. Shaking from that tremor also was felt in South Carolina.

Information culled from this report will give guidelines to states and cities on building codes.

"The standards for seismic safety in building codes are directly based upon USGS assessments of potential ground shaking from earthquakes, and have been for years," said Jim Harris, a member and former chair of the Provisions Update Committee of the Building Seismic Safety Council.


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