Research tries to pinpoint cracks that can cause SC quakes
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Scientists at the College of Charleston are getting ready for a project to map cracks deep underground and get a better idea where earthquakes may happen in South Carolina.
The project will fly a plane in a grid pattern from Kingstree to Edisto Beach. An antenna on the tail of the plane will take magnetic sensor readings under the surface, researchers said.
When the deep rock under the low country is cracked it will show up as a line. Where the lines converge is where an earthquake is more likely, Geological Survey research geophysicist Anji Shah told The Post and Courier of Charleston.
Researchers think this type of quake caused the 7.3 magnitude earthquake in 1886 that killed 100 people and leveled nine of every 10 brick buildings in Charleston. It was the strongest earthquake ever recorded on the East Coast.
“We can’t predict earthquakes but we can prepare for them,” Shah said. “We know there is a risk of earthquakes (in the Charleston area). What we don’t have a good handle on is what the risk is. What’s the likelihood of that (the 1886 quake) happening again, and where?”
On the West Coast, faults are often seen on the surface and can be easily mapped. West Coast earthquakes of the same magnitude also tend to cause less damage. The earthquakes in South Carolina shake the softer underground sediment longer and can cause more damage, scientists said.
But most seismic building codes are based on the intensity of West Coast earthquakes.
Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com