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1.5 Earthquake in Summerville

On January 9 th a small 1.5 magnitude earthquake occurred near Summerville, SC. Though earthquakes of this magnitude and smaller occur relatively frequently (South Carolina has about 10 to 15 earthquakes with a magnitude 3 or less a year), usually earthquakes between a magnitude 2 and 3 are felt only by those on the highest floors of buildings, (the movement of the ground is amplified by the height of the building).

This earthquake was also recorded by the University of South Carolina's (USC) seismic network and can be seen on the digitized Jenkinsville helicorder on the USC website (

FAQ: We have had several earthquakes recently, does this mean we need to worry about the big one?

ANSWER: No, earthquakes are not uncommon in South Carolina, in fact, the area around Charleston and Summerville is one of the most seismically active areas east of the Mississippi River. Over 200 earthquakes have been recorded in the Charleston area since the South Carolina Seismic Network was created. Most of these earthquakes were too small to be felt. However, the United States Geological Survey has recorded 33 earthquakes with magnitudes between 2 and 4.7 in the Charleston region since 1974, including the 2 so far this year.

For more information on earthquakes in South Carolina, please click on SC Earthquakes on the left side of this page, or go to

If you want to tell us your experience or send us any pictures you may have about this earthquake please e-mail SCEEP. We would love to hear from you. Send us an email at:

Last Updated: January 13, 2012

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