Many people do not realize that Charleston is in an earthquake zone. In 1886, an earthquake with a magnitude estimated between 6.9 and 7.3 caused 100 deaths and damage to about 7,000 buildings.
This is why older buildings in our area have earthquake bolts on the sides of these structures. These bolts hold poles together that were used to repair and strengthen brick walls. They take many interesting shapes, such as stars and crosses. To read more about these iron bolts, click here.
Dr. Erin Beutel, College of Charleston Geology & Geosciences Department, provided Tidelines with the following map from the USGS that shows the areas with highest and lowest earthquake vulnerability. As you can see, Charleston is in the risk zone.
Now that we know that the Charleston area is in a high hazard zone, what do we do in the event of an earthquake?
Several organizations, including SC Emergency Management Division, Central US Earthquake Consortium, FEMA, and US Geological Survey among many others, have organized an earthquake drill on Thursday, October 17, at 10:17 am called the Great SouthEast ShakeOut. The goal of the drill is to remind people about what to do in the event of an earthquake.
According to their website, “The Great SouthEast ShakeOut is a regional opportunity to practice how to be safer during big earthquakes: Drop, Cover and Hold On. The ShakeOut has also been organized to encourage you, your community, your school or your organization to review and update emergency preparedness plans and supplies, and to secure your space in order to prevent damage and injuries.”
To learn more about this effort to make us earthquake aware and safe, click here.
SC Emergency Management Division has also published a guide that discusses SC’s fault system, what an earthquake in SC would look like today, pet behavior in an earthquake and much more. Click here to read or download the guide.