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The University of South Carolina acquires counters for the Elgin earthquake

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The researchers installed 86 new screens.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina – University of South Carolina researchers may be one step closer to understanding the latest series of earthquakes, known as a swarm, that began less than a year ago in Kershaw County.

The researchers analyzed the swarm using instruments called seismographs. These devices enter the Earth to collect data on the movement of plates under the Earth’s surface.

This month, the university installed 86 new mini seismometers to get even better results. They’re getting help from a neighboring country, too, said Daniel Frost, an assistant professor in the University of Southern California’s School of Earth, Ocean and Environment.

“Working with Georgia Tech, we installed 86 decadal seismometers,” Frost said. “A decadal seismometer is a meter seismometer similar to the size of a volleyball.”

Due to the scale of the devices, the university was able to install more near the epicenter.

“There have been earthquakes in Elgin since the beginning of the year and no one got a really good answer to what is happening with them,” he said.

But these new devices should provide more accurate results.

“Hopefully we now have these seismographs above where the swarm occurs, and we’ll be able to better locate these earthquakes,” Frost said.

New seismometers could help pinpoint the source of turbulence beneath the Earth’s surface. Size also factor in cost. And because the meters were small, the university was able to purchase 86 meters.

The devices were buried between Elgin, the epicenter, and Fort Jackson. Results from the new micro-seismometers won’t be recorded until January.

Frost said it’s important to note that earthquakes in South Carolina are often harmless.

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