Somerville – A 3.3 magnitude earthquake hit the northern region on September 27 with hundreds of residents feeling the quake but not reporting damage.
This came on the heels of two smaller earthquakes that rocked near the Volvo Cars plant in South Carolina earlier in the afternoon.
Three minor earthquakes in one day
Three earthquakes between magnitude 2.0 and 3.3 occurred Monday in the Summerville area. Source: USGS
The largest earthquake hit the Charleston and Dorchester counties around 6:20 p.m., according to the US Geological Survey.
While some Charleston-area residents neither heard nor felt the earthquake, others heard thunderous noises and saw their windows shake.
About 258 residents between Summerville and downtown Charleston reported to the USGS by 8 p.m. that evening that they had felt an earthquake. Their responses indicate that the earthquake was of light intensity.
The epicenter was located near Summerville Ford on Dorchester Road.
Steve Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the office in North Charleston had not received any reports of damage. But meteorologists felt the earthquake from their headquarters.
“It felt like someone had hit the building with a car,” Taylor said. “A lot of vibrations and a lot of noise. It was fun.”
Residents of West Ashley and Hanahan also noticed the rumbling, along with residents of Park Circle in North Charleston.
A 2.8-magnitude earthquake also occurred at around 12:45 p.m., according to the US Geological Survey. The epicenter appears to be near Thirty Five and Fish Road in Berkeley County, about 7 miles northwest of the Volvo plant and 20 miles northwest of Summerville.
It was followed by a magnitude 2 earthquake less than a mile away at around 1 p.m.
More than 266 people reported to the USGS that they felt the initial earthquake near a Volvo plant. Their responses described it as “weak” with no damage reported in the area. Four people felt the second earthquake. The survey noted that this particular data had not been reviewed by a scientist.
An employee at the Lebanon express stop near State Road said she did not feel any signs of an earthquake near the Volvo plant this afternoon, nor did she see anything falling from store shelves. She said the gas station was so busy that staff may not even realize there was an earthquake.
Two of the three earthquakes were slightly above 2.5 degrees, where some damage could occur.
Small earthquakes like this are common in the Lowcountry, and the coastal area around Charleston is particularly prone to earthquakes.
The epicenter of the 3.3-magnitude earthquake is believed to be near the same area as the devastating 1886 earthquake that killed 100 people, flattened nine out of 10 brick buildings in Charleston and damaged nine out of 10 in Summerville.
Three underground faults meet each other somewhere down the Ashley River near Middleton Place. The edges of tectonic plates pressing against each other trigger vibrations.
The September 27 earthquakes were the 10th, 11th, and 12th earthquakes to strike South Carolina since July 27, all considered minor, according to the South Carolina Geological Survey.
Call Jocelyn Grzeszczak at 843-323-9175. Follow her on Twitter at @jocgrz.
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