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73rd earthquake strikes in the Elgin area of Kershaw County

Experts state the quakes are part of a swarm that appears to be the longest in the state's history.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A small earthquake was recorded near the town of Elgin, the latest in the swarm of tremors that have taken place in that area in the last seven months.

The latest was a 1.9 magnitude quake that struck 3.6 miles east of Elgin at 9:44 a.m. Wednesday. It happened 1.86 miles beneath the surface. 

It was the 73rd earthquake in that area since December 27, when a 3.3 tremor struck. The largest of the quakes happened on June 29, when a 3.6 was recorded that afternoon, just hours after a 3.5 took place. The 3.6 quake was the strongest in the state in eight years.

Experts state the quakes are part of a swarm that appears to be the longest in the state's history.  

What's causing the swarm is still being researched, but last month, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources released a report that suggested the nearby Lake Wateree could be responsible. They believe the initial earthquake in late December may have allowed water from the Wateree River to seep into new cracks that opened from the original December earthquake, which has now set off additional tremors in the area.

RELATED: Is this the reason there are so many earthquakes in Kershaw County?

Researchers have set up recording devices in the area to gather more data about the quakes.  Last week, town leaders held a virtual forum with residents about the phenomena. 

RELATED: How South Carolina's seismometer network helps scientists study state's 'earthquake swarm'

Earthquakes happen throughout the state but mostly occur near the coast. Approximately 70 percent of earthquakes are in the coastal plain, with most happening in the Lowcountry.  

Back in 1886, Charleston was hit by a catastrophic earthquake. It had an estimated magnitude of 7.3, and was felt as far away and Cuba and New York. At least 60 people were killed, and thousands of building were damaged.


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