Swarm of earthquakes in SC’s midlands not necessarily uncommon, SCEMD says

South Carolina News
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JENKINSVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina’s emergency management officials say a swarm of earthquakes reported in the midlands over the past few days is not necessarily out of the norm.

The United States Geological Survey has confirmed seven low-magnitude earthquakes near Jenkinsville, South Carolina, with the most recent – a 2.0 magnitude quake – reported just before 11:00 a.m. Monday.

South Carolina typically experiences an average of 10-20 earthquakes each year. Seismologists believe the small earthquakes, while unusual, are normal background activity and are not indicators of larger earthquakes to come.

“Earthquake swarms are not an uncommon occurrence in the vicinity of the Monticello Reservoir – a much larger swarm of microearthquakes occurred as the reservoir was first filled starting in December 1977,” explained Dr. Steven C. Jaume’ with the College of Charleston’s Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences Department.

Dr. Jaume’ said thousands of earthquakes happened in the years following. None of which were larger than 2.9.

“Earthquake activity declined in the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, but then picked up again in late 1996. Between December 1996 and mid-1999 several more earthquake swarms occurred, with nearly 1,000 earthquakes occurring at that time, with the largest being a magnitude 2.5.”

More earthquakes are possible for the next several months, or even years, in the area near the Monticello Reservoir, according to Jaume’, and how frequently they occur cannot be predicted.

Officials with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said 20 earthquakes have been recorded throughout the state since January 2021.

Three earthquakes were recorded in the Lowcountry on September 27th. The largest, a 3.3 magnitude quake, struck near Centerville during the evening.

A low-end earthquake was reported near Centerville in August and two small quakes registered near Ladson back in July.

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