Experts weigh-in on swarms of recorded earthquakes in Midlands

Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 6:57 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - There have been nearly 80 earthquakes recorded in the Midlands since December, but experts explain why they don’t expect these earthquakes to cause any damage.

“This swarm of earthquakes has really kind of outlived its welcome,” said University of South Carolina seismologist Dr. Scott White.

According to geologist, Dr. Scott Howard of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources-Geological Survey the constant earthquakes has become a concern for people.

“It’s gone beyond an annoyance to a concern because it’s concerning people,” said Howard.

The state’s experts on infrastructure are working to ease those concerns.

South Carolina Department of Transportation’s Deputy Secretary of Engineering Leland Colvin says the state’s roads and bridges are built for the quakes.

“Based on the seismic zones across the U.S. that we do expect to have some seismic events in South Carolina,” said Colvin.

“So really, seismic activity is just what you said is where you start seeing movement, our forces on that bridge that subsurface, fortunately, Yes, the foundations of our bridges are designed to handle that. And you expect that bridge to have some movement in there and we designed that ahead of time,” said Colvin.

However, anytime a bridge does have movement from an earthquake, the state records it.

More than 8,000 bridges felt movement from the largest earthquake this year, a 3.6 magnitude that hit Elgin at the end of June.

Colvin says inspections for the bridges were not needed.

“None of those saw enough movement for us to trigger our inspection program. They were well below our threshold,” said Colvin.

So while the state has a plan in place for if or when a large earthquake may hit, as long as the quakes stay below a 5.0 magnitude there’s no need to hit the brakes.

“So we’re prepared, we’re prepared to respond and if there are any safety issues whatsoever, we’re going to close the bridge we’re going be very, very conservative, but we don’t expect anything other than maybe some slight damage and slight crack and until you get to at least a magnitude of 5.0,”said Colvin.

Below see part one of the interview about the earthquakes in Midlands.