Earthquake Hazard Map (USGS)

Everyone’s talking about it, so I might as well write about it.

I stopped at home just before 2pm today, on my way to an appointment in Simpsonville.  I was doing something quietly, and the next thing I know, some little figures on a shelf shook just enough for me to notice.  I didn’t really feel it myself, but I’ll let those figurines act as my seismometer.  At the time, I had no idea what it was.  It wasn’t until I checked Facebook on my phone before I saw all the posts (from here up to Pittbsurgh).

Interestingly enough, Greenville is far closer to major earthquake hazard areas than Richmond, Virginia.  In fact, the map to the left shows our proximity to those hazard areas.  We are essentially sandwiched 3.5 hours between two of them.

That is not to say that Greenville, SC experiences frequent earthquakes.  In fact, I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever felt one.  The most major earthquake to hit South Carolina was in Charleston, 125 years ago next week.  That earthquake registered a magnitude of 7.3.  Significant tremors for that event were reported in a 99 mile radius from the epicenter (Summerville).

The most recent measurable earthquake in Western South Carolina was in 1971.  That earthquake measured an intensity of VI, or an approximate magnitude of 4.5.

According to studies, the probable recurrence interval for an earthquake measuring a magnitude of 6.8 or higher is approximately 400-500 years for the state of South Carolina.

For more information, please see the links below for some great information.

USGS: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/south_carolina/history.php
College of Charleston (pdf): http://scearthquakes.cofc.edu/support_files/scearthquakes_022009.pdf

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