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Seventh earthquake shakes up the Midlands

Elgin residents felt two earthquakes on Thursday at 7 a.m. and 2 p.m.

ELGIN, S.C. — Two earthquakes hit Elgin on Thursday increasing the total amount of quakes this week to seven. 

A 2.5 magnitude earthquake was confirmed at 7 a.m. and then a 2.36 at 2 p.m. on Thursday. 

Elgin store owner Sheila Leonerd said she's felt all seven earthquakes this week.

“This morning's wasn't as intense as the other day, that was very scary. I thought we got hit by a truck," said Leonerd. "It was very scary.” 

Monday's quake had a magnitude of 3.2-- the biggest all week. Since then, the magnitudes have ranged in intensity, with the smallest quake measuring in at 1.1. 

Dr. Steven Jaume, a professor in the geology department at the College of Charleston, said these magnitudes are not likely to cause any structural damage. 

“You really need to get into the magnitude four or four to half range where you may get some minor damage. Like other other than knocking something off the shelf cracks and walls, things of that nature,” said Jaume.  

Elgin resident Gino Pyfrom said he's not too concerned about the recent earthquakes. 

"My thing is you really can't do a whole lot about it when it starts to happen, just hope that you’re not totally affected by it," said Pyfrom. 

Doctor Jaume said these quakes are normal given that Elgin falls along the Eastern Piedmont Fault System-- a large fault system that extends northeasterly from Georgia, through the Carolinas, and into some parts of Virginia. 

Despite many residents concerns that these small quakes might lead up to a big one, Jaume said that's unlikely to happen, though he said there isn't enough data to be 100% sure. 

“These particular sets of small earthquakes don't give us information on when the next big one's going to occur," said Jaume. 

He said him and his collogues are considering putting meters in the Elgin area that will provide them with more data. 

Unlike weather, earthquakes are unpredictable and can happen at any moment. 

"There isn't a season. There is no specific thing to look for to tell you when it's coming. It will show up when it shows up," said Jaume. "So you have to at least mentally be prepared all the time.”

When one does occur, Jaume said to drop, cover, and hold. 

First, drop to the floor, then find cover under a desk or a table, and hold on until the shaking stops.

If you're outside, get away from anything that can fall on you like trees or light poles. 

  

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