Three Earthquakes hit South Carolina Over Several Hours, and the Last One was the Strongest


Over five-plus hours Monday, three earthquakes were confirmed in South Carolina. And the last quake was the strongest.

Thousands of people reported feeling tremors from the 3.3 magnitude earthquake that shook the state’s Lowcountry at 6:21 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was the eighth earthquake in South Carolina since July 16, USGS data shows.

It followed two earthquakes that were recorded within 10 minutes of each other earlier in the day.

A 2.8 magnitude earthquake hit near Summerville at 12:49 p.m., according to the USGS. Less than a mile away, the USGS said a 2.0 magnitude earthquake was confirmed at 12:57 p.m.

The third earthquake was reported near Centerville, about 8 miles from the sites of the two earlier quakes.

The trio of quakes continued a recent trend of seismic activity in the state’s Lowcountry, where three earthquakes were reported over five days  in July. Two other low-magnitude quakes were recorded in that area in August.

The eight recent earthquakes all were recorded near the Dorchester, Charleston, and Berkeley counties border.

No damage or injuries have been reported from Monday’s quakes.

It makes sense that more people reported feeling the third, and most powerful, earthquake since the ones that register 2.5 magnitude or less often go unnoticed and are only recorded by a seismograph, according to Michigan Technological University. Any quake less than 5.5 magnitude is not likely to cause significant damage, the school said.

Anyone who felt the quakes can report it to the USGS.

This was the 13th earthquake in South Carolina in 2021 confirmed by the USGS, and the ninth recorded in the Lowcountry.

It is typical for South Carolina to have between six and 10 earthquakes a year, the S.C. Geological Survey reported. There were at least 11 earthquakes reported by the USGS in South Carolina in 2020.

One of the most powerful earthquakes recorded in South Carolina happened in Charleston on Aug. 31, 1886. The estimated 7.3 magnitude quake killed 60 people and was felt over 2.5 million square miles, from Cuba to New York, and Bermuda to the Mississippi River, according to the Emergency Management Division.