AP

Preliminary 3.3 magnitude quake jolts South Carolina

May 9, 2022, 12:02 AM | Updated: 10:00 am

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A relatively rare East Coast earthquake centered just northeast of South Carolina’s capital city jolted large numbers of state residents awake early Monday, rocking the Southern state at a preliminary 3.3 magnitude, authorities said.

There were no immediate reports of any damages or injuries, although more than 4,000 people contacted the U.S. Geological Survey to report what they felt.

The pre-dawn temblor lasted only seconds, but a number of people took to social media to describe being shaken from sleep when the quake hit shortly after 1:30 a.m.

There have been dozens of low-magnitude quakes since last December, when a 3.3 magnitude tremor originated in the same area, near Elgin, about 21 miles (34 kilometers) northeast of downtown Columbia, South Carolina’s capital city.

Those awakened early Monday reported feeling the earth shaking for several seconds, some even describing what sounded like a heavy truck moving nearby.

But geological officials noted that, while the events are unsettling, central South Carolina’s loose soil and lack of significant bedrock — coupled with the Monday earthquake’s shallow depth of about 1.9 miles (3.1 kilometers) below the earth’s surface — mean such rumbles are felt more significantly in a place like South Carolina than they would perhaps be along the San Andreas fault system, in California.

“There’s definitely been a ‘swarm’ here over the past several months,” Amy Vaughan, a geophysicist and seismic analyst monitoring the quake for USGS’ National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado, told The Associated Press by phone. “This is not an area that is capable of producing what we would consider a big one, of much larger magnitudes. … A 3.3 is a larger deal when it occurs somewhere like South Carolina.”

Noting that the 3.3 magnitude is an early assessment and could change, Vaughan added that reports had been pouring in to the 24-hour quake monitoring center.

“I have not heard of any damage reports so far but have had over a thousand … reports,” she said.

Still, she called it “alarming for sure” and said some lesser aftershocks were possible in coming days or weeks. She noted there were quakes of a preliminary 2.0 or higher in April and March and others going back little more than four months in the region — and a 3.3 quake last December.

South Carolina typically averages 20 earthquakes a year, according to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division. Elgin is along a large fault system that extends from Georgia through the Carolinas and into Virginia.

Last year, the area near Jenkinsville — about 40 miles (60 kilometers) west of this group of tremors — registered six small earthquakes in over a week.

According to emergency management officials, about 70% of South Carolina earthquakes are located in the Middleton Place-Summerville Seismic Zone, about 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) northwest of Charleston.

In 1886, that historic coastal city was home to the largest recorded earthquake in the history of the southeastern United States, according to seismic officials. The quake, thought to have had a magnitude of at least 7, left dozens of people dead and destroyed hundreds of buildings.

That event was preceded by a series of smaller tremors over several days, although it was not known that the foreshocks were necessarily leading up to something more catastrophic until after the major quake.

___

Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

2 hours ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

7 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

8 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

10 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

10 days ago

(Pexels photo)...

Associated Press

Baby in Kansas City, Missouri, dies after her mother mistakenly put her in an oven

An infant in Missouri died when her mother mistakenly put her down for a nap in an oven, a prosecutor said Saturday.

11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

...

FanDuel

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]

Preliminary 3.3 magnitude quake jolts South Carolina