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Why are earthquakes popping up in Fairfield County?

Five earthquakes happened this week around Jenkinsville in Fairfield County. Three earthquakes were reported by the USGS on Thursday.

JENKINSVILLE, S.C. — This week, five earthquakes were reported in the western portion of Fairfield County. All the earthquakes happened around the Jenkinsville and Monticello area, with three happening on Thursday. 

The largest magnitude reported was a 2.1, on Thursday evening. Residents in the community told News 19, they did not feel any shaking from either of the earthquakes. 

RELATED: Multiple earthquakes reported in Fairfield County since Monday, USGS reports

According to a Dr. Steve Jaume with the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences at the College of Charleston, random bursts of earthquakes are common. 

"We see this worldwide that happens associated with reservoirs," Jaume said. Most reservoirs don’t do this, but there are a select few around the planet -- and the Monticello Reservoir is one of them -- that experience these swarms around the reservoir."

Jaume said the quakes happen because of added pressure from the lake. 

"When you make a reservoir, you’re making a lake that didn’t exist before," Jaume said. Behind the dam, that weight of the water is going to press down on the Earth’s crust and add more force that wasn’t there before."

"In addition, some of that water is going to seep into the cracks of the surrounding rocks, and some of the cracks are going to be faults," Jaume said. "So, you're effectively lubricating them, and making things move more easily than they would otherwise."

Jaume' said this issue occurs when reservoirs are first built, but it's still unknown why earthquakes happen years later, like the past week.

With the nuclear plant located in nearby Jenkinsville, residents wonder if an earthquake could cause a nuclear meltdown.

RELATED: Small earthquake in Lexington County source of shaking in the Midlands

"If they're engineered very well, that should never happen," Jaume said. "In the United States, I have never heard of an earthquake large enough and close enough to a nuclear station to cause that much damage."

When an earthquake does happen, it's best to not try to run and leave the building. Officials recommend staying indoors, and taking cover under a stable surface like a table and stay there until the shaking is over. 

If you find yourself outdoors during an earthquake, the best thing to do is stay low to the ground and avoid trees, buildings, and anything else that could fall and injure you. Staying low to the ground as possible is best to avoid falling over and injuring yourself. 

RELATED: Did you feel it? 2.1 magnitude earthquake registered near Sumter