A small earthquake struck South Carolina, startling residents and shaking homes both in the state and across the border in Georgia on Friday night
South Carolina quakes
South Carolina quakes Significant earthquakes experienced in South Carolina, according to the U.S. Geological Service.
1886: Centered in Charleston. Magnitude 7.3 -- the biggest in state history. Quake followed by seven aftershocks. About 60 people killed. Few buildings in the city escaped damage. More than 60 people were killed. Damage in Columbia and Augusta and Savannah, Ga. All or parts of 30 states, Ontario, Canada, and Havana, Cuba felt the earthquake.
1924: Quakes outside the state felt over 90,000 square miles including South Carolina.
1903: Centered on the South Carolina-Georgia border near Savannah with tremors reaching Charleston, Columbia and Augusta, Ga.
1907: Moderate shock felt Charleston, Augusta, and Savannah
1912: Centered in Summerville and felt in Charleston, Greenville and Brunswick and Macon, Ga., and Wilmington, N.C.
1913: Centered in Union County
1914: Centered in Summerville and felt in Charleston and Augusta, Macon, and Savannah, Ga.
1924: Centered in Pickens County and felt in most of South Carolina and western North Carolina, northeastern Georgia, and eastern Tennessee.
1945: Centered in Lake Murray and felt parts of Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
1959: Shock felt in Charleston, Summerville, and Wadmalaw Island.
1960: Centered off the coast of South Carolina and felt in Augusta and Greensboro, N.C..
1958: Centered in Anderson
1959: Centered in Chesterfield
1964: Centered in Gaston and felt in Fairfield, Florence, Lexington, and Richland Counties.
1971: Centered in Bowman and Orangeburg, Magnitude 3.4.
2002: Centered in Sea Brook Island. Magnitude 4.4. Felt along the coast from Myrtle Beach to Beaufort
The earthquake, estimated to be 4.1 on the Richter Scale, was centered 60 miles southwest of Columbia near Edgefield.
The quake initially was reported at a magnitude of 4.4, but the U.S. Geological Survey downgraded the intensity about 30 minutes after the quake.
USGS geophysicist Dale Grant said he had not received reports of damage or injuries from the quake, which happened at 10:23 p.m. He called the shaking a "large quake for that area."
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported two nearby dams on the Savannah River appeared to be undamaged, but planned a thorough inspection Saturday morning, Edgefield County Emergency Preparedness Director Mike Casey said.
Casey said the quake was centered in a sparsely populated part of Edgefield County where there are a lot more rabbits and deer than people. He was driving around and hadn't found any damage, but he expects some reports of minor damages to come in once the sun rises.
"To get an accurate assessment we're going to need daylight. I could be looking at damage in the dark and not know it. Tomorrow morning, I go out to get my paper and I see the bricks in my house are cracked," Casey said.
Authorities across South Carolina said their 911 centers were inundated with calls of people reporting what they thought were explosions or plane crashes as the quake's low rumble spread across the state.
Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook immediately logged statuses from people who felt the quake.
One comment on Facebook said: "I have never witnessed one before. This was a learning experience. It sounded like thunder that was chasing you and once it caught up.. everything moved. I watched the roof of my back porch just roll... Scary honestly."
Two other Facebook comments: "I agree Jeff, it was very scary here in Summerville." ... "It shook our house in Walhalla, SC. Dogs went crazy!"
Barbara Lewis lives in the Sandstone neighborhood behind the Publix shopping center off Whiskey Road and said she felt the earthquake around 10:24 p.m.
"All of a sudden there was a rumbling up from the ground and everything started shaking," Lewis told the Aiken Standard. "I looked at John (Lewis' husband) and said, 'It's gotta be a helicopter.' Helicopters have been circling around all day. John said, 'No. That was an earthquake.' This is the first time I've ever experienced an earthquake."
Lewis said, as of midnight Friday, that she has felt no aftershocks. The earthquake, on top of this week's severe ice storm, has left her wondering what's next.
Tremors were felt all over metro Atlanta, from Gwinnett to Paulding counties and areas south. Dozens of people used Twitter to ask The Atlanta Journal-Constitution what caused the tremors, which some described as powerful enough to shake walls.
"Was there just an earthquake in Roswell, GA? Or is my house on a sink hole?" one person Tweeted to The AJC.
"I have lived here for 19 years & have never felt my house shake like it just did," a Walton County resident posted.
Reports surfaced on Twitter of a leaking water tower in Augusta, Ga., following the quake, but the tower was damaged by ice from a winter storm earlier this week and not the quake, said Richmond County Sheriff's Lt. Tangela McCorkle.
No damages or injuries from the quake itself had been reported, said South Carolina Emergency Management Division spokesman Derrec Becker. The ice storm felled a lot of trees in the area, which could make it more difficult to determine what damage was caused by the quake.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley felt the earthquake at the governor's mansion in Columbia. She asked the Department of Transportation to inspect bridges in the area Saturday morning as a precaution, said her spokesman Doug Mayer.
Tom Clements, a resident of suburban Columbia about 60 miles east of the quake's epicenter, said he felt the walls of his brick house shaking "and they were definitely shaking like what I've experienced before in Latin America" during an earthquake.
Clements said he immediately went outside to see if anyone else had felt it and he found two neighbors who had.
"One thought a tree had fallen" under the weight of ice dumped by the storm, he said.
Earthquakes aren't unheard of in the region. A 4.3-magnitude earthquake happened in Georgia in August 1974 several miles west of Friday's quake. Three others of similar magnitude have been felt in South Carolina in the past 40 years, according to the USGS.
The largest earthquake ever recorded on the East Coast was a 7.3-magnitude quake near Charleston in August 1886 that killed at least 60 people.
US Geological Survey Earthquake Information: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/usc000mr27