The earthquake threat that exists in South Carolina typically doesn’t get much attention as say, a hurricane, a tornado or even an ice storm potential. Many living in the Palmetto State aren’t aware that the epicenter of the largest earthquake ever recorded on the eastern seaboard was near Charleston, S.C. on August 31, 1886. This magnitude 7.3 earthquake resulted in 60 deaths, 90 percent of all buildings in the Charleston area were destroyed and property damage was estimated at $5-$6 million in the period’s currency.
The 1886 quake was felt over 2.5 million square miles from Chicago to Cuba. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division estimates an earthquake of similar magnitude occurring today would result in hundreds of fatalities; the damage to infrastructure and the economy would be spread over many states for many years afterwards.
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