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Officials monitor seismic activity of the Supreme Committee after three earthquakes on Monday

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Charleston, South Carolina (WCSC) – Officials with the South Carolina Department of Emergency Management are closely monitoring seismic activity in our state.

Earlier this week, the Summerville and Ladson area experienced three earthquakes within hours.

The last time we had three earthquakes in about seven hours was in 2003, says Derek Baker of the state’s Department of Emergency Management. And while he says it’s a little unusual to have three earthquakes in a row, it proves just how active the South Carolina seismic is.

“The place where these earthquakes happened is centered sort of near where the largest earthquake ever recorded occurred on the East Coast, and that was in August of 1886,” Becker says.

On August 31, 1886, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck Charleston. The initial shock lasted about one minute. I felt it over 2.5 million square miles from Chicago to Cuba.

“It felt like 3.2,” Becker says of the Monday night earthquake. “Imagine an earthquake much, much bigger than that. That’s what we experienced. That is why we are very careful when we talk about earthquakes.”

SCEMD did a study and looked at what would happen if we experienced an earthquake of a similar magnitude to what we did in 1886. They found that:

An estimated 45,000 victims, of whom about 9,000 (about 20 percent) will be serious injuries requiring hospital treatment; The death toll may reach about 900 people. A daytime event may cause the greatest number of casualties. Approximately 70,000 families, or about 200,000 people, will be displaced, with an estimated 60,000 people in need of short-term shelter. Total economic losses from damage to buildings, direct and business interruption losses and damage to transportation systems and facilities will exceed $20 billion. The direct economic loss from building damage (without business interruption losses) is estimated to be more than $14 billion. Direct economic losses to transportation systems and facilities will exceed $1 billion, and an estimated $10.9 billion in economic losses will occur in the three-county area of ​​Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester. The damage to buildings alone would cause more than $4.2 billion in losses due to the direct disruption to business in the state. Loss estimates include rental income, business income, wages, and moving expenses. More than 250 fires will be burning, primarily in the Three Provinces area. The lack of operational firefighting equipment and water due to the earthquake will be a major concern, as about 80 percent of urban households in the three counties area will be deprived of water. It will take weeks, if not months, to get water systems back to normal operation, and hospitals are likely to suffer extensive damage to buildings that could shut down as many as 30 out of 108 hospitals (about 30 percent). • More than 220 schools and more than 160 repeat stations will have severe damage. In addition, severe damage to the large stockpile of transportable school buildings is expected, as nearly 800 bridges will be damaged beyond use, hampering recovery efforts, about 63 electric power utilities (51 substations of 380, 12 power stations of origin 53) would suffer at least moderate damage; There will be about 300,000 homes without electricity, and more than 36 million tons of debris will be generated.

South Carolina typically experiences 10-20 earthquakes a year, about two or three of which we can actually feel.

“We know that some people might be concerned seeing three in a row is building up to something major,” Becker says. “Unfortunately, we won’t know until we’ve had a major earthquake and then we can definitively say ‘Yeah, these guys were grappling with this and those were earthquakes.'” “If we don’t see a major earthquake after this, or in the near future, it’s just a regular earthquake in the background.”

Officials say that about 50/50 of the three earthquakes we experienced were just ground pressure. We won’t know if he’s headed toward something bigger for another six months to a year or even longer.

Click here to take a look at SCEMD’s earthquake guide that lists how to shelter and how to prepare for an earthquake.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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