Somerville – In less than a week, the area around the golf club at Westcott Plantation in the Ladson area recorded three small earthquakes.
But experts said it’s not something residents should start sounding the alarm.
“You’re seeing the result of increased monitoring,” said Stephen Jaume, a professor in the Department of Environmental Geology and Geosciences at the College of Charleston.
On July 16 at approximately 11 p.m., a magnitude 2 earthquake was recorded near Danbury Drive in Summerville. Later on July 22, two more were listed near the same area – a 1.3 earthquake near Thornton Drive and a 1.1 minor earthquake near Oak Leaf Road.
Jaume said the three reports are not unusual as the region regularly sees small movements. There was also one that occurred on July 21, but experts said it was too young to be recorded.
“Most of them go unreported because they are so young,” Jaume said.
More survey material means that registrations for these events will likely increase. Jaume, along with colleagues at C of C and Georgia Tech, has installed four permanent seismometers in the area, one of which broadcasts data live.
Seismometers are used to track the movement of the earth during an earthquake. Additional observations by Jaume and colleagues were funded by the USGS.
A similar program was planned 10 years ago with Virginia Tech. This equipment had to be moved to Virginia after the 5.8-magnitude earthquake in that state in 2011.
But the main reason this data is so important is the 1886 Charleston earthquake that killed 100 people. It was a 7.3-magnitude earthquake and is considered the largest in the southeast.
Nine out of 10 brick buildings in Charleston were flattened and nine out of 10 in Summerville were damaged.
Experts are still unaware of exactly where the fault is, since the earthquake occurred before seismometers were used. Increased monitoring will help with this.
It will also help construction companies make better earthquake preparations.
“We don’t have the level of detail we’d like to have,” Jaume said.
If residents feel an earthquake, they are advised to report to the USGS at the following website: earthquake.
Although residents should not be alarmed by the recent earthquakes, experts said they are a reminder to prepare for an inevitable bigger event. They advise families to add earthquake preparations as part of their emergency preparedness kits.
The South Carolina Department of Emergency Management lists some helpful preparation tips on its website at scemd.org.
Jaume said that unlike a typhoon, people can’t see an earthquake coming days before. So you better be prepared.
Reach out to Jerrel Floyd at 843-937-5558. Follow him on Twitter @jfloyd134.
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