South Carolina Earthquakes

This describes the possibilities and past occurrences of earthquakes in South Carolina.

Most people are not aware of earthquake activity in South Carolina.The Palmetto state has a seismic past and will tremble again as quakes shake the ground beneath our feet. The area around Charleston and Summerville is one of the most seismically active areas east of the Mississippi River and over 200 earthquakes have been recorded in the Charleston area since the South Carolina Seismic Network started its program.  Since 1974, 33 earthquakes ranging from a magnitude of 2 to a 4.7 have been recorded in the Charleston area. The most recent activity in South Carolina was a 3.6 Magnitude Earthquake in the Low Country.

The quakes that occur in South Carolina are in no comparison to the quakes on the West Coast and other parts of the world.

In South Carolina about 70 percent of the earthquakes occur on the Coast and are concentrated around areas west and north of Charleston. There have been seismic activities in other areas of the state, but not as active as in the Low Country.

Charleston Earthquake of 1886

On Tuesday, August 31, 1886.  An estimated 7.6 magnitude earthquake shook Charleston, SC.  The people of Charleston and the surrounding area must have been frightened as tons of debris fell onto the streets. Many of Charleston’s brick and masonry buildings did not with stand the quake.  Approximately 60 people died during the disaster. Structural damage could be seen for about 200 miles around Charleston. The 1886 quake was the strongest earthquake known to hit the Eastern Seaboard, and its force was felt over 2 1/2 million square miles away. (From Cuba to New York, and Bermuda to the Mississippi River).

Union County Earthquake of 1913

Twenty-seven years after the 1886 Charleston earthquake another quake hit South Carolina. On January 1, 1913, at 1:28 p.m. near the town of Union in Union County a 5.5 magnitude quake shook the neighborhood.  Shock waves were felt in portions of Western South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina, and even up into parts of Virginia. The damage of this quake was minimal a there was no death.

Summerville- Goose Creek Area 2008

On December 16, 2008 a 3.6 magnitude earthquake shook the Summerville area of South Carolina. Only minor damages and no deaths were reported.

What would happen if another major earthquake were to hit the East Coast? While everyone is concentrating on the great hurricanes from the sea we must also remember that the East Coast also sits on a fault  line that could change the face of our country not to mention the world.

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4 Responses to “South Carolina Earthquakes”
  1. dave cartier Says...

    On February 4, 2009 at 5:55 am

    i live in sc so this was really interesting to me


  2. Likha Says...

    On February 4, 2009 at 10:22 am

    I had the scariest one in Manila back in 1990. Now our earthquake drills are a yearly exercise in schools. But then again, you never really are prepared.


  3. PR Mace Says...

    On February 5, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    That was very interesting. We live in Pensacola, Florida and in 1997 we had a small one. It woke us up because our animals could sense it and they were going crazy. We didn’t know what had happened until the news the next day.


  4. Cacyshay Says...

    On March 26, 2009 at 12:23 am

    I was awakened last night by my home shaking (that is why I was looking up Earthquake activity in SC). I live in Newberry SC. My daughter experienced the same thing a few months back and tried to wake me but I just told her to go back to sleep (good thing the house wasn’t on fire!). I had to apologize to her today for no believing her…


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