COLUMBIA (WACH) - South Carolina went tectonic Friday night. At 10:23PM, a 4.1 mag earthquake had it's epicenter 7 miles W/NW of Edgefield, near the Georgia state line. The shaker was felt over most of the state as well as in Georgia and Tennessee.
Bridge inspection teams checked structures for and lateral or longitudinal shift. SCDOT McCormick Maintenance Engineering performed a nighttime check near the Edgefield/McCormick county line and reported no unusual sightings. Bridge inspectors checked locally near the epicenter and US 378 at Savannah River and US 29 at Savannah River below Lake Hartwell Dam and SC 34 at Saluda River below Lake Greenwood. Particular focus was placed on the area around Edgefield. Bridge inspectors also looked at US 123 at Lake Hartwell and US 76 at Chattooga River and around the Oconee Nuclear/Keowee hydroelectric area. No structural damage was found.
While earthquakes in South Carolina are most common near Charleston, they do occur throughout the state. Twelve years ago, in 2002, there was a 4.4 magnitude quake off of Edisto Island.The largest recorded earthquake in the upstate was the 1913 Union County earthquake, which had an estimated magnitude of 5.5.
This Valentine??s Day earthquake occurred in the part of the state that has a geologic history similar to that of Louisa County, Virginia, the location of the magnitude 5.8 earthquake in 2011 that damaged buildings in Washington, DC, including the Washington Monument. The faulting mechanism of Friday night??s earthquake is also similar to the 2011 Virginia earthquake. This is a reminder that large damaging earthquake can occur in all parts of South Carolina.