Quakes – tiny in Carolina

Quakes last 8-30 days

Quakes last 8-30 days

Original Image with quake list and details clickable

For Comparison, the historical map:

Historical Damaging Quakes 1750 - 1996

Historical Damaging Quakes 1750 - 1996

Original Image

Happening Now in the USA:

USA Current Quakes

USA Current Quakes

Original Image with click/zoom and area links

Sometimes it’s the little things…

So on Fox News this crawler goes by about a tiny quake in Charleston, South Carolina. It mentioned that this was in the same place at the 1886 Charleston Quake. What? Think I… They make it sound like a big deal… So I go looking and find out that it WAS a big deal.

Any quake watcher already knows that a 4.x on an active slip/strike fault is a real yawner, but the same thing in a more brittle central plate area can shake folks up. A 6.x in that kind of structural area ‘is a big deal’. What was that 1886 Charleston quake? Well, it has a wiki:


The Charleston Earthquake of 1886 was a powerful intraplate earthquake that hit the area of Charleston, South Carolina. After the 1811 and 1812 quakes in New Madrid, Missouri, it is one of the most powerful and damaging quakes to hit the southeastern United States. The shaking occurred at 9:50 p.m. on August 31, 1886 and lasted just under a minute. The earthquake caused severe damage in Charleston, South Carolina, damaging 2,000 buildings and causing $6 million worth in damages (over $141 million in 2009 dollars), while in the whole city the buildings were only valued at approximately $24 million. Between 60 and 110 lives were lost. Some of the damage is still seen today.

Major damage occurred as far away as Tybee Island, Georgia, (over 60 miles away) and structural damage was reported several hundred miles from Charleston (including central Alabama, central Ohio, eastern Kentucky, southern Virginia and western West Virginia). It was felt as far away as Boston to the north, Chicago and Milwaukee to the northwest, as far west as New Orleans, as far south as Cuba, and as far east as Bermuda.

The earthquake is estimated to have been between 6.6 and 7.3 on the Richter scale with a Mercalli Intensity of X. Sandblows were common throughout the affected area due to liquefaction of the soil. More than 300 aftershocks of the 1886 earthquake occurred within 35 years. Minor earthquake activity that still continues in the area today may be a continuation of aftershocks. Very little to no historical earthquake activity occurred in the Charleston area prior to the 1886 event, which is unusual for any seismic area. This may have contributed to the severity of the tremor.

The 1886 earthquake is a heavily studied example of an intraplate earthquake. The earthquake is believed to have occurred on faults formed during the break-up of Pangaea. Similar faults are found all along the east coast of North America. It is thought that such ancient faults remain active from forces exerted on them by present-day motions of the North American Plate. The exact mechanisms of intraplate earthquakes are a subject of much ongoing research.

Well, IMHO, we’re in a ‘special’ regime of plate motion due to the particular positions of all the planets and the solar sequelae. It will be Very Interesting if the intraplate faults of the East Coast start to kick up their heels. That the 1886 Charleston Quake happened near in time to the New Madrid quake of 1811-1812 is particularly interesting. Lets see, that’s just about 200 years ago… and 1886 is 126 (or about two 60 year cycles) ago. 1816-17 being the ‘year without a summer’ during the Dalton Minimum.

I smell a pattern. Time will tell if it is a predictable pattern or a coincidence. (But I’d not be moving to New Madrid any time soon ;-)

OK, to me this says we need to start watching a bit more closely the Mid-west and East Coast (and, by implication, keeping an eye on Indonesia for quake clusters too…) It could easily take a couple of decades for anything interesting to develop, so this is more a ‘stop ignoring’ rather than a ‘watch close now’.

With that, the details on this ‘tiny’ (that we hope is not a fore shock…)

South Carolina - no, really!

South Carolina - no, really!

Original Image

Magnitude 2.6 – SOUTH CAROLINA
2012 January 04 07:56:03 UTC

Earthquake Details

This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.

Magnitude 2.6

Wednesday, January 04, 2012 at 07:56:03 UTC
Wednesday, January 04, 2012 at 02:56:03 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 32.966°N, 80.181°W
Depth 5 km (3.1 miles)

5 km (3 miles) S (178°) from Summerville, SC
5 km (3 miles) SSW (205°) from Lincolnville, SC
9 km (5 miles) SW (235°) from Ladson, SC
134 km (83 miles) NE (40°) from Savannah, GA
402 km (250 miles) ESE (102°) from Atlanta, GA

Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 0.6 km (0.4 miles); depth +/- 1.1 km (0.7 miles)
Parameters NST= 10, Nph= 12, Dmin=7 km, Rmss=0.1 sec, Gp= 97°,
M-type=duration magnitude (Md), Version=C

Southeast U.S. Seismic Network

Event ID se010412b

Also note that there was a 4.0 in Ohio that I basically ignored as ‘kind of small’ but now more interesting in the context of “stuff in a pattern” along that same ‘back east’ line…

2011 December 31 20:05:01 UTC

Earthquake Details

This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.

Magnitude 4.0

Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 20:05:01 UTC
Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 03:05:01 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 41.122°N, 80.684°W
Depth 5 km (3.1 miles) (poorly constrained)

4 km (2 miles) NW (315°) from Youngstown, OH
4 km (3 miles) SSE (167°) from Girard, OH
6 km (3 miles) S (191°) from Churchill, OH
70 km (44 miles) E (85°) from Akron, OH
96 km (60 miles) NW (322°) from Pittsburgh, PA

Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 0.5 km (0.3 miles); depth +/- 31.6 km (19.6 miles)
Parameters Nph= 18, Dmin=61 km, Rmss=0.23 sec, Gp=137°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=1

Lamont-Doherty Cooperative Seismographic Network (LCSN)

Event ID ld60029101

North America

North America and Mid Atlantic Ridge Quake Map

North America and Mid Atlantic Ridge Quake Map

Original with clickable details

And remember, I have a dedicated CSZ page with closeups

Odd “look” to things. In California we have a modest quake, but way off shore in the Channel Islands. Odd…

2012 January 03 14:18:56 UTC

Earthquake Details

This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.

Magnitude 4.1

Tuesday, January 03, 2012 at 14:18:56 UTC
Tuesday, January 03, 2012 at 06:18:56 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 33.195°N, 119.449°W
Depth 18.4 km (11.4 miles)

7 km (4 miles) SE (134°) from San Nicolas Is., CA
81 km (50 miles) WNW (283°) from San Clemente Is., CA (NW tip)
103 km (64 miles) SE (144°) from Santa Rosa Is., CA
114 km (70 miles) SSW (193°) from Oxnard, CA
147 km (91 miles) SW (230°) from Los Angeles Civic Center, CA

Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 1.1 km (0.7 miles); depth +/- 0.9 km (0.6 miles)
Parameters Nph= 20, Dmin=9 km, Rmss=0.29 sec, Gp=205°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=3

California Integrated Seismic Net:

Event ID ci11049285

New Zealand

As New Zealand had some activity recently, I’m leaving this closeup in place. Just so it’s easy to keep an eye on it.

New Zealand Close Up

New Zealand Close Up

I’m promoting the Australia / New Zealand / Indonesia map up here to it’s easier to keep an eye on Indonesia as a broad active area.

Australia / New Zealand

This is a live map of the Australia / Indonesia / New Zealand area:

Australia / Indonesia / New Zealand Quake Map

Australia / Indonesia / New Zealand Quake Map

Original with clickable regions to zoom in

Pacific View

I find this Pacific Ring Of Fire view interesting…

Pacific Ring Of Fire view

Pacific Ring Of Fire view

Original Image

Southern Hemisphere

A view of Earthquakes from the South Pole

A view of Earthquakes from the South Pole

Original Image with Clickable Details

Northern Hemisphere

North Polar Earthquake Map

North Polar Earthquake Map

Original Image with Clickable Details

Asia and Russia

Asia Quake Map

Asia Quake Map

Original Image with clickable areas

California Map

Action Closer to Me

As I live in California, it makes it easier for me if I keep them in the list where I can see what’s shaking near me.

Here is an alternative view of things with the fault lines highlighted:

California Quakes with fault lines

California Quakes with fault lines

Original Image

Historical Links

This page lists historical quakes by year, with news headlines too. I’ve pointed the link at 2011, but other years are there to choose too.


Oddly, just clicking on years and looking how long the list is, I find that 2011 is longer than 2009 is longer than 2005 etc. It looks like, at a gross measure, quake activity is higher. (Presuming they have standard criteria for what makes the list…)

While this page says for the USA 2010 was larger (but global quakes under 4.5 have a 2009 cut off so those numbers are not comparable):


Map of Plates

You can see it is where plates collide here:

Plates Of The World

Plates Of The World

Original Image, and with other language options.

Some Volcano Stuff

This page:

http://pangea.stanford.edu/~dsinnett/Pages/Links.html has a nice collection of links to volcano monitor pages. Just click the pictures for the different volcano observatories.

The Smithsonian page:


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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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8 Responses to Quakes – tiny in Carolina

  1. boballab says:


    Don’t forget the 5.8 intraplate earthquake that happened back in Aug 2011 near Richmond Va. It was the strongest quake east of the Rockies since 1897:

    The 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred on August 23, 2011, at 1:51 pm EDT (17:51 UTC) in the Piedmont region of the U.S. state of Virginia. The epicenter, in Louisa County, was 38 miles (61 km) northwest of Richmond and 5 miles (8.0 km) south-southwest of the town of Mineral.[1][3] It was an intraplate earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 and a maximum perceived intensity of VII (very strong) on the Mercalli intensity scale. Several aftershocks, ranging up to 4.5 Mw in magnitude occurred after the main tremor.[4]

    The earthquake, along with a magnitude-5.8 quake on the New York-Ontario border in 1944, is the largest to have occurred in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains since an 1897 quake centered in Giles County in western Virginia[5][6] which had an estimated magnitude of 5.8[7] or 5.9.[8]


  2. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve added a ‘new toy’ at the top. The interesting thing to me is that the N. America quakes are all very shallow. On the Asia side, they are all deep. (and if you zoom in on Kamchatka to Japan they are all ‘behind’ the fault line).

    It looks like the Pacific plate is getting shoved into subduction under Asia / Philippines and N. America is getting a bit crunched in the process of pushing it…

    This page kind of confirms it:


    I’d predict more volcanic action on the Asia side in just a few years…


    Oh yeah… ;-)

    There have been several scattered in odd places lately, including Utah and Wyoming and Oklahoma and…

    I’ve added a Pacific Ocean “ring of fire” view up above…

    While I’m here, Chile and S.America are a bit active,too. This one just ‘popped’ a few hours ago in Chile:

    Magnitude 5.1 – OFF THE COAST OF AISEN, CHILE
    2012 January 05 00:54:35 UTC

    Earthquake Details

    This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.

    Magnitude 5.1

    Thursday, January 05, 2012 at 00:54:35 UTC
    Wednesday, January 04, 2012 at 07:54:35 PM at epicenter
    Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

    Location 45.819°S, 76.461°W
    Depth 27.5 km (17.1 miles)
    Distances 343 km (213 miles) W of Coihaique, Aisen, Chile
    396 km (246 miles) SSW of Castro, Los Lagos, Chile
    435 km (270 miles) W of Perito Moreno, Santa Cruz, Argentina
    1459 km (906 miles) SSW of SANTIAGO, Region Metropolitana, Chile
    Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 22.7 km (14.1 miles); depth +/- 7.8 km (4.8 miles)
    Parameters NST= 56, Nph= 58, Dmin=321.7 km, Rmss=1.15 sec, Gp=133°,
    M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=7

    Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)

    Event ID usc0007geb

  3. R. de Haan says:

    Modern Survival Blog did the numbers E. M

  4. Crashex says:

    There are some folks attributing the Youngstown OH quake, and the others that recently occurred in that same area, to deep well injection of waste water. It’s part of the is-fracking-good-or-evil debate, partly because it’s the fracking water that’s being disposed of in the wells and partly because of the similarities of hydraulic fracking and deep well injection.

    It reminds me of one of the James Bond plots of the evil tyrant using water to lubricate the San Andreas fault to destroy CA.

    Anyway, it’s an interesting aside to your quake watch.

  5. R. de Haan says:

    All the pro’s and contras of fracking have been written down in a report by
    Matt Ridley which provides an interesting read.

    Click to access shalegas_GWPF.pdf

    You can watch his presentation about energy for the UK Govt last month in London at this youtube link.
    His presentation starts at 20.28

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    Bunch of little red dots lighting up along California and up to Alaska.

    Hope it doesn’t mean anything is ‘setting up’…

    (Red dots are less than 1 hour old…)

  7. Pascvaks says:

    Australia is the absolute root of all geo-evil on the planet. We must unite to stop this global menace from upsetting the whole ball of wax, if not we’re all gonna die! Look at it! Inching it’s way North and East into the Pacific. Talk about climate change, this is Climate Change on steriods, and Spped, and Mary Jane, and Smac, and Crack, and Kaboom! Unite Brothers and Sisters of Humanity!! Unite to save the World from the Evil Wizard of OZ! If we don’t achieve a miracle in the next 3 generations we’re toast! It’s time to spend everything NOW for the sake of the EcoSystem, otherwise, your children’s children’s children’s children will live on a totally different planet. Earth as we know it, will no longer exist!… rant!… rant!… rant!… (SarcOff)

    Now, really, if the crazies of the planet wanted a REAL issue to bring about Total Global Utopian Change (-;TGUC;-), wouldn’t you think they’d see that stopping the Continent of Oz is the perfect way to go? I have a feeling the PM of Oz beleives she’s got a solution and intends to save us all. (Well, everyone but the Ozzies, they’re expendable I hear.)

    I know there simply has to be a connection between Quakes and Vocanoes, Galactic Gravity Waves, SunSpots, Plate Movement, Ocean Temps, Polar Ice, and Global Climate. Think it might be down under our noses?

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    Looks like we’ve got a 7.3 in Sumatra. Watch out for Tidal Waves / Tsunami.

    2012 January 10 18:37:00 UTC

    Earthquake Details

    This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.

    Magnitude 7.3 (Preliminary magnitude — update expected within 15 minutes)

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 18:37:00 UTC
    Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 12:37:00 AM at epicenter

    Location 2.286°N, 93.096°E
    Depth 33 km (20.5 miles) set by location program

    435 km (270 miles) SW (215°) from Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia
    960 km (597 miles) W (265°) from KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia

    Location Uncertainty Error estimate not available
    Parameters NST= 8, Nph=0, Dmin=0 km, Rmss=0 sec, Gp=166°,
    M-type=”moment” magnitude from initial P wave (tsuboi method) (Mi/Mwp), Version=B

    NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

    Event ID pt12010000

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