|USGS Interactive Fault Map|
Yet this reality—and the threat of future catastrophic South Carolina earthquakes—is virtually unknown to the vast majority of the state's residents and the millions of people who visit here. In 2008, 122 years after the Great Charleston Earthquake, the residents of South Carolina have no greater awareness of the state's earthquake hazards than they had in 1886. The reasons are twofold. First, no one living in South Carolina since their birth has experienced a catastrophic earthquake here. Second, no government agency in the history of the state has attempted to put useful earthquake awareness and preparation information directly into the hands of all the people. As a result, less than one South Carolinian in 1,000 is actively aware of the state's earthquake history and hazards -- or how to prepare for "the next big one." See South Carolina Earthquake Awareness Project.This presentation from the South Carolina Earthquake Education and Preparedness Program is definitely outdated, but it brought me up to speed on where fault lines are know to exist, where earthquakes occur in South Carolina, and the potential hazards that occur as the result of earthquakes here like Tsunamis and the liquefying of the earth because of all the sand we are sitting on. I searched for "South Carolina earthquake preparedness" and found a bunch of outdated sites, so for now I am trusting this one from the USGS. Let me know if you know of something better.
All this research on earthquakes brought to mind oral history that I came across while researching my family in Union County. You can easily research the 1886 earthquake that devastated Charleston, but what is impressive to me is the WPA account given from a Union County resident:
Things run along alright till the night of Aug. 31, '86. Dat' earth sho' wuz' a-shaking av'ywhars' and things wuz fallin', The Lord or somethin' had things by the hand that night. Next day the Lawd heerd' folks prayers and stipped hat earth's gwine's on. Of all the ups and all the downs I sec' dat the worses' skeert' I is ever been," Eison Lyles, January 20, 1938 (recalling the earthquake of 1886).Caldwell Sims, Voices of the Past, (Union, South Carolina: Union County Historical Foundation, 1979), 63.