The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) launched Earthquake.SC, a new website to help South Carolina residents better prepare for earthquakes.
Earthquake.SC offers a variety of interactive features, including a map that displays both current and historical earthquakes in the state, a walkthrough with safety steps for earthquake situations, a myths and facts section that covers urban legends and commonly asked questions about earthquake activity in South Carolina.
South Carolina normally experiences around 10 to 20 earthquakes annually with 70% of earthquakes in the state centering around three areas: Ravenel-Adams Run-Hollywood in Charleston County, Bowman in Orangeburg County and Middleton-Place-Summerville in Dorchester County, according to the agency’s Earthquake Guide.
This year, however, the state has experienced an unusually high number of rumbles, with more than 80 low-magnitude earthquakes having occurred in Kershaw County since January. SCEMD said that this occurrence highlights how earthquakes can happen anywhere in South Carolina at any given time.
Dr. Norm Levine, a geology and environmental geosciences professor at the College of Charleston, told City Paper in January that seismic activity here is normal. He explained the seemingly increased prevalence of earthquakes is partially due to more sensitive seismometers picking up low-magnitude activity, which most people wouldn’t even notice.
“We have experienced more than our fair share of low-magnitude earthquakes this year,” SCEMD director Kim Stension said in a press release. “None of them have been large enough to cause any damage, but we encourage everyone to be prepared for a major earthquake, however unlikely the possibility may be.”
Levine said the state had two sets of fault zones.
“There’s a set in the northern part of the state, which is related to when the original mountains were built. They were from plate tectonics, when the continents shifted together and built the mountains, there were faults. Those faults still exist in the ground. They’re older, they don’t tend to move as much, but the lines of weakness are still there.
“Then we have things that are in the zone on the eastern part of the state, in the lower part of the state that are related to the opening up of the Atlantic Ocean,” he said. “These faults are still older and run through the lower part of the state. … What we’re seeing now [is] slight readjustments along the faults. Small pops.”
The new interactive website is a virtual companion to SCEMD’s main website, scemd.org, the SC Emergency Manager mobile app and the printed South Carolina Earthquake Guide.
“Earthquake.SC is another tool in the toolbox for people to use when becoming their own emergency managers and being as ready as possible for earthquakes in South Carolina,” Stenson said.
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