COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – A recent series of earthquakes in Kershaw County may be the longest period of successive activity in South Carolina history, according to geologists.

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) explained that “an earthquake swarm is a sequence of seismic events occurring in a local area within in a relatively short period of time.”

The recent swarm began December 27, 2021 when a 3.3 magnitude earthquake was registered near Elgin. 45 low-magnitude earthquakes have occurred in the area since then, with the highest magnitude being a 3.6 on June 29, 2022.

Two minor earthquakes were documented near Elgin within 20 minutes the evening of June 30; a 2.1 magnitude earthquake was documented at 8:45 p.m. and a 1.1 magnitude earthquake was documented at 9:05 p.m.

Dr. Steven Jaume’ with the College of Charleston’s Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, explained that the December 27 earthquake likely sparked the subsequent activity.

“The Piedmont Fault System is made up of several smaller fault lines that stretch across the middle of South Carolina,” he said. “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.”

State Geologist Scott Howard said that this swarm is different from other swarms around the country because these earthquakes “have been low in magnitude and haven’t posed a hazard to people.”

Both Jaume’ and Howard agreed that the activity is not related to mining or any other human activity.