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Earthquakes in the Beaufort Area

Earthquakes in Beaufort and Hilton Head Island? You may not have known this, but the coastal region is on a fault. There have been earthquakes in the area. Usually they are small, non-remarkable tremors seldom felt, but they do occur.

The Great Charleston Earthquake

On August 31, 1886, at 9:30 on a quiet Tuesday night, one of the largest earthquakes in US history to strike Eastern North America occurred in Charleston, SC. After one minute, the violent shaking stopped. People were stunned as to what had just happened. In that brief minute, over 80 people were dead, mostly from falling chimneys and debris. Fires began to break out from broken gas lines. Most of Charleston was damaged. The shock wave was felt as far north as Kentucky, Virginia and as far east as the Bahamas. The earthquake is estimated to be between 6.6 and 7.3 on the Richter scale.

Earthquake Safety Tips

If a earthquake does occur, the most important thing to do is to get out of and away from vertical structures. The most dangerous structures are brick, stone, houses on stilts, old historic tabby homes, mobile homes and churches. Falling glass causes many serious injuries. Large trees often fall, particularly larger oaks and pines.

Stay off bridges and docks. If driving, be aware that traffic signals may not work or signals may become confused. Power poles and lines will likely fall and may be still carry power. Remember, many aftershocks can occur after the first earthquake.

After an Earthquake

The first and most important function is to calm people around you. Watch out for and report power lines down, broken water and gas lines. Water will likely be contaminated, so bottled water is a must. Never enter any structure or bridge until it is cleared as safe.