NEWBERRY — The U.S. Geological Survey has confirmed that a 4.1 magnitude earthquake centered near Edgefield struck around 10:22 p.m. Friday, sending tremors throughout the Carolinas and Georgia.
The USGS indicated that the quake was about three miles deep and was centered seven miles west northwest of Edgefield.
The quake was felt throughout the county and Facebook lit up with comments.
Kimberly Brown from Newberry said their house shook, and it rattled their windows. Brown lives in the Oakland Mill Boarding House.
“We live right by the railroad tracks, and the first thing my son said was, nope, no train!” Brown posted on The Newberry Observer’s Facebook page.
Christi Epps, off S.C 121 in Newberry posted that they heard a loud noise as if something had crashed, and their kitchen table began to shake.
In Prosperity near Lake Murray, Anita Barrett-Ross posted that they at first assumed it was the wind, but the vibrations felt and sounded like a helicopter flying over.
Dale Grant with the USGS said shallow quakes like this one generate most of their energy near the surface. He confirmed to a local news channel that it was felt throughout South Carolina, into Georgia and into North Carolina.
Derrec Becker, public information coordinator for the S.C. Emergency Division, said Friday night that earthquakes in South Carolina are not that uncommon.
“South Carolina normally experiences 15 to 20 earthquakes a year,” said Becker. “Those are very, very low magnitude quakes. A 4.0 is very visible.”
Becker said the effects of a 4.0 magnitude earthquake would be visible, such as books falling off shelves or dishes falling, and would feel like a large truck just drove by.
“At first we thought it was a National Guard helicopter that flew over the building because that’s happened all day,” he said. “We are going through our plans and procedures to make sure that everything is OK in the state because of everything we have already gone through this week.”
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, residents of the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee have been experienced small earthquakes and suffered damage from larger ones since 1776.
The largest earthquake in the area (magnitude 5.1) occurred in 1916. Moderately damaging earthquakes strike the inland Carolinas every few decades, and smaller earthquakes are felt about once each year or two, according to USGS.
A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt at many places as far as 60 miles from where it occurred, and it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake usually can be felt as far as 300 miles from where it occurred, and sometimes causes damage as far away as 25 miles, according to the USGS.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey Website:
Earthquakes occur on faults within bedrock, usually miles deep. Most bedrock beneath the inland Carolinas was assembled as continents collided to form a supercontinent about 500-300 million years ago, raising the Appalachian Mountains. Most of the rest of the bedrock formed when the supercontinent rifted apart about 200 million years ago to form what are now the northeastern U.S., the Atlantic Ocean, and Europe.
The inland Carolinas region is laced with known faults but numerous smaller or deeply buried faults remain undetected. Even the known faults are poorly located at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few, if any, earthquakes in the inland Carolinas can be linked to named faults.