THE ISSUE: Earthquakes
OUR OPINION: South Carolina has reason for awareness, preparedness
A lot of focus on nature in South Carolina goes to thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes. But on Thursday, South Carolina will be shaking.
More than a million participants from South Carolina and other Southeastern states are expected to be part of The Great ShakeOut. In South Carolina alone, 213,000 people have registered for the Great Southeast ShakeOut Earthquake Drill on Oct. 18. At 10:18 a.m., emergency officials will send out information about an earthquake on weather radio and other means, and they encourage people to practice what they would do if the ground started shaking.
South Carolina has reason to take note of the drill:
The state experiences approximately 10 to 20 earthquakes a year, according to geologists with the College of Charleston.
The epicenter of the largest earthquake ever to occur along the eastern United States seaboard was just outside Charleston on Aug. 31, 1886. The 7.3 magnitude quake devastated the region and was felt from Chicago to Cuba.
According to a study commissioned by the S.C. Emergency Management Division, an earthquake of similar magnitude would result in tremendous loss of life, severe property damage and extreme economic loss.
The T&D Region in particular should be aware of quakes.
The Bowman area is considered a central point for potential earthquake activity. The town is situated on the Middleton Place-Summerville Seismic Zone which, along with the Ravenel-Adams Run-Hollywood area near Charleston, experiences about 70 percent of the earthquake activity in the state, according to the S.C. Emergency Management Division.
And the region has been no stranger to quakes.
n People from Cope to Cameron felt an earthquake that hit 3.4 on the Richter scale on May 19, 1971. The only damage reported was broken windows.
n On Feb. 3, 1972, an earthquake hit the area again. Residents of Bowman confirmed the quake felt stronger than previous ones they remembered.
n Three earthquakes were reported in the Neeses area in 1992, the largest hitting 2.4 on the Richter scale. And a 2.3-magnitude quake occurred in Bowman in 1997.
n In March 2009, another 2.6-magnitude earthquake occurred halfway between Orangeburg and Aiken counties. No damage or injuries were reported, according to the S.C. Earthquake Education and Preparedness Program, sponsored by the College of Charleston and the S.C. Emergency Management Division.
n In 2011, as South Carolina was hearing early predictions of Hurricane Irene scoring a direct hit on the state, Aug. 26 produced the strongest earthquake felt on the East Coast in years. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake ranks as the second strongest ever measured in Virginia.Near the epicenter, brick house walls cracked, and chimneys were thrown down or badly damaged, according to the USGS. Minor damage was observed from about Bristol, Tenn., to Roanoke, Va.
Local officials say they are as prepared as they can be for a quake, with rescue teams and emergency responders being trained regularly on structural collapse and emergency response. Thursday is your individual opportunity at preparedness.
The Great ShakeOut drill is open to everyone in South Carolina. To register, go to www.shakeout.org/centralus. Be sure to include the total number of people taking part in the drill with you.