SCEMD: Recent earthquake swarm longest in state history

SCEMD said the recent string of earthquakes are the longest in recorded state history.
SCEMD said the recent string of earthquakes are the longest in recorded state history.(SCEMD)
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 3:15 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) said Thursday the recent earthquakes are the longest period of successive activity in recorded state history.

The division said an earthquake swarm is defined as, “..a sequence of seismic events occurring in a local area within a relatively short period of time.”

Geologists studying the Kershaw County earthquakes linked the start of the swarm to Dec. 27, 2021 when a 3.3 magnitude earthquake struck near Elgin. Researchers have tracked 44 low magnitude earthquakes since then in the Elgin-Lugoff area.

The strongest earthquake so far in the sequence was on June, 29, 2022 at 3.6 magnitude. SCEMD said these low frequency earthquakes do not mean a larger one is coming.

State Geologist Scott Howard said, “These earthquakes are now the longest running series of earthquakes in recent history. He continued, “Unlike earthquake swarms occurring elsewhere in the country, these have been low in magnitude and haven’t posed a hazard to people, fortunately.”

Dr. Steven C. Jaume with the College of Charleston’s Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences Department explained multiple fault lines stretch across the state from the Piedmont Fault System.

Jaume said, “The first earthquake on December 27 appears to be the one that started this swarm in Kershaw County. When an earthquake occurs in a region where there hasn’t been much activity over a long period of time, we can expect similar earthquakes to occur in that general area for the foreseeable future.”

Is this the result of mining activity?

SCEMD said in their release, “These earthquakes are not related to mining activity or any other human cause.”

SCEMD Director Kim Stenson advised residents in the state, “Check your insurance policies, conduct a home hazard hunt and practice Drop, Cover, Hold On. Those are all things you can do right now to make sure you’re prepared for earthquakes.”

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