An 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan last week, and in South Carolina, seismologists are reacting. College of Charleston seismologist Steve Jaume says after the initial massive earthquake in Japan, six more followed.
This is basically several hundred miles of ocean floor decided to move up a few feet, and that moves a lot of sea water, and there’s your big wave.
Jaume says he and a team of experts immediately started researching how the earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan could affect the United States. The events did have minimal effects on Hawaii and California, and will not affect South Carolina. However, Jaume says about every 500 years a large earthquake hits South Carolina. The last one in 1886 was a 7.3 magnitude earthquake that killed 100 people in Charleston.
Jaume says although a massive earthquake doesn’t happen often on the East Coast, it is possible.
I talked with the emergency management people here, and of course, they are really geared for hurricanes. You get that warning a few days out from the National Weather Service, the hurricane center people track those things. You can get ready for it. The thing about earthquakes, and this is something that often kind of shakes the emergency management people because they are so used to hurricanes, you start dealing with an earthquake when you feel it. Don’t expect any warning, you have to be able to react quickly. As soon as the shaking stops, start moving and you start your response there.