Midlands’ strongest earthquake in 8 years shakes up the area

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Multiple earthquakes could be felt today across the Midlands.

While the two strongest earthquakes happened near Elgin, they both were felt in downtown Columbia.

“I can promise you this, it’s probably not going to be the last earthquake we have. We just ask people to take it seriously but don’t be scared. If you’re prepared, you’re less likely to be scared and you’re going to act appropriately when one does hit,” said Brandon LaVorgna, SCEMD public information coordinator.

SCEMD told us this Monday after Sunday mornings 3.4 magnitude earthquake.

Earthquakes are not uncommon in South Carolina but this year there have been many more than normal.

“We have a lot of fault lines that go through South Carolina,” LaVorgna said. “We’re one of the most active states on the east coast when it comes to earthquakes. Not a lot of people know that.”

More than 40 earthquakes have occurred just this year. Wednesday’s 3.5 magnitude earthquake marks the strongest in the Palmetto State in 8 years. Despite occurring near Elgin, it was felt throughout the Midlands including downtown Columbia.

“I didn’t know. I thought somebody was working on the building. I went outside and nobody was out here,” Columbia resident Marquaveon Rambert recalls.

The US Geological Survey reports that around 4,000 people felt Tuesday afternoon’s earthquake, including those as far north as Charlotte and far south as Aiken.

For some in Columbia, it was the first this year that they have felt.

“It was crazy. It was mind-blowing. I thought I was tripping. I looked up and everything was shaking,” Rambert said. “My girl texted me ‘Did you feel that?’ I was like ‘Yeah, did you feel that too?’ That’s my first one and it was amazing.”

Others have felt ones this year but an earthquake still comes as a surprise.

“I was leaving the bank. I’ve felt some of the earthquakes before but this one felt a little stronger than the other ones,” said Columbia resident Eric Mathis. “It made me stumble because I was in the middle of a step. I was like ‘Oh wow, I’m feeling an earthquake.’”

While many in downtown Columbia did feel it, others were unaware.

“I told my co-worker and asked ‘Did you feel that?’ and she was like ‘No,’” Rambert said. 

According to the intensity scale, an earthquake under a 5 magnitude is unlikely to do any severe damage.

“It’s exciting,” Mathis said. “This isn’t California. I don’t expect 8 pointers taking out the city or something.”

“I would like to feel it again though,” Rambert said with a laugh.

Around 7 o’clock Wednesday evening, Rambert got his wish. A 3.6 earthquake shook the area and was followed by two aftershocks. It was even stronger than the earlier quake and is the strongest since 2014’s 4.1 magnitude quake in McCormick County.

Categories: Kershaw, Local News, Richland