COLOMBIA, SC ( Associated Press) – A relatively rare East Coast earthquake centered northeast of South Carolina’s capital shocked a large number of state residents early Monday, triggering an initial magnitude 3.3 tremor in the southern state, officials said. .
There were no immediate reports of any damage or injury.
The quake lasted only seconds before dawn, but hundreds of people took to social media to describe the drowsy shaking when the quake struck shortly after 1:30 p.m., according to the USGS Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado. A seismological analyst monitoring earthquakes for, called it the latest in a series of aftershocks in recent months but stronger than usual.
“There’s definitely been a ‘swarm’ here over the past several months. It’s not like a swarm after a major seismic event, but we’ve had several of them in recent months,” said a geophysicist with the 24-hour monitoring service. Amy Vaughan told the Associated Press over the phone.
Vaughan said a magnitude 3.3 is a preliminary assessment and could change, with the epicenter of the quake being about 1.5 miles (3.1 kilometers) below Earth’s surface near the community of Elgin. The location is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of the capital city, Colombia.
Awakened people felt the earth shaking for several seconds and some even reported what sounded like a heavy truck nearby. Vaughan said he had received reports of the earthquake monitoring center an hour later.
“I haven’t heard of any damage reports so far, but there have been over a thousand … reports,” she said. “If people were asleep they would clearly be awake and things would be rattling off shelves or countertops, but not the kind of shaking or intensity to damage any significance.”
Still, she called it “definitely alarming” and said that there is a possibility of some minor tremors in the coming days or weeks. She noted that there were initial earthquakes of 2.0 or greater in April and March and others going back a little more than four months. in the area – and last December the 3.3 earthquake.
She said the quake was very shallow, close enough to the surface that it felt, adding that the area has been experiencing other tremors recently.
According to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, Columbia has had two dozen minor earthquakes since late last year, typically more than 20 on average by state in an entire year. Elgin is along a major fault system that extends from Georgia into the Carolinas and Virginia.
Last year, the area near Jenkinsville — about 40 miles (60 kilometers) west of this group of tremors — recorded six small earthquakes in a week, with three quakes in a single day alone.
According to emergency management officials, about 70% of South Carolina earthquakes are located in the Middleton Place-Somerville 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 seismological officials. The quake, believed to have been at least a magnitude 7, killed dozens and destroyed hundreds of buildings.
There had been a series of minor aftershocks over the several days prior to that event, although it was not known whether the foreskin was necessarily turning into something more destructive until after the major quake.