Seven earthquakes rock US’ South Carolina in one day

Seven earthquakes rock US' South Carolina in one day. Image: Shutterstock.com

South Carolina, USA, was rattled by seven earthquakes in only one day on Wednesday, June 29, including the strongest to hit the state since 2014.

The United States Geological Survey reported that an earthquake registering 3.5 on the Richter scale rumbled just 5 km east of Elgin, South Carolina, shortly before 3 pm local time on Wednesday evening.

Elgin, a town of under 2,000 people, sits only 32 km northeast of the South Carolina state capitol, Columbia, which has a population of almost 140,000.

An aftershock with a magnitude of 2.1 shook the region a second time shortly after the first ground-mover, with a third tremor of 1.88 shaking the area at 4 pm, quickly followed by a fourth with a 1.51 magnitude.

Then, the biggest earthquake to hit the state in eight years rumbled through the region just after 7 pm local time. The 3.6 quake was originally thought to be only hitting 3.34 on the Richter scale, until the United States Geological Survey corrected its own stats some time later.

Before the evening was over, another pair of aftershocks hit the area, the first registering 1.79 and the second measuring at 1.46.

People around the state reported feeling the earthquakes throughout the afternoon and evening. Residents around 150km away in Augusta, Georgia – where the annual U.S. Masters golf tournament is played – were also able to feel the tremors.

Over 40 earthquakes above 1.3 on the Richter scale have hit the affectionately-named ‘Palmetto State’ since December 2021, including a magnitude-3.4 quake in the early hours of Sunday morning.

A statement released by the United States Geological Survey said that small-magnitude earthquakes are common in South Carolina, although having so many occur within a short time span is not the norm.

The agency were keen to allay fears that the quakes were a sign that something resembling the magnitude-7 .3 that caused 60 deaths on August 31, 1886, was soon to come.

“It is unlikely these earthquakes are related to the region of seismicity associated with the great 1886 Charleston earthquake,” they tweeted Wednesday. “Additionally, there are no oil or gas operations in the crystalline rocks where these earthquakes occur, so they are not related oil and gas production.”

South Carolina sits on the East Coast of the United States and is bordered by North Carolina to the north and northeast, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, with the Savannah River forming a natural border with Georgia to the west and southwest.


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Written by

Tom Hurley

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