Did you feel it? Many did feel last night’s M 4.1 Earthquake near the very small town of Edgefield, SC. It was felt wide and far across the Southeast. Many in the area who aren’t use to Earthquakes can be excused feeling a bit rattled. It was the biggest quake in SC since a M 3.6 in 2008.
Quakes on the east coast are always felt over much wider distances compared to places out west due to the long expanses of bedrock which allows for the seismic waves to travel very long distances. We just don’t have as many faults to break up the waves like places in California. The faults here are down in the bedrock and formed when the Appalachian mountains were formed 500-300 million years ago.
There is actually a large earthquake risk to most of South Carolina due to numerous mid plate faults in the area. The quake last night appears to be along one of those faults near the Georgia border. The largest previous quake in that exact area was a M 4.3 in 1974.
Notice the hazards associated with areas in the low country of South Carolina. People forget that in 1886 the largest Earthquake on the east coast occurred in Charleston , SC. It was a massive M 7.3 Quake that caused damage all the way up here in Charlotte.
There will always be a threat of large Earthquakes in the Carolinas as well and some day we could even see a quake in similar magnitude to the 1886 quake. We just don’t see the frequency of quakes here like those on the west coast. There is even a very active plan to makes sure people in South Carolina prepare for such quakes in the future. http://www.dnr.sc.gov/geology/earthquake.htm