Being dubbed the "Valentine's Quake," a 4.4 magnitude earthquake rocked South Carolina Friday night. It was the strongest earthquake to hit the state since 2002.
The quake's center was just 7 miles outside of Edgefield, SC, which sits 60 miles southwest of Columbia, the state's capitol city. According to emergency dispatchers in Edgefield, there have been no reports of damages or injuries, although the tremors could be felt through both the Carolinas, Savannah, and all the way to Atlanta - 160 miles from the quake's center. "It's a large quake for that area," geophysicist Dale Grant told the Associated Press. "It was felt all over the place."
Although the idea of South Carolinian earthquake seems bizarre, they're actually more common than you'd might think. Though most are minor, Friday's quake was the 13th earthquake South Carolina has seen in the last year (they average about 15 tremors a year). However, the last magnitude 4 earthquake happened over 12 years ago, with the largest ever recorded being a 7.3 magnitude that killed 60 in Charleston in 1886.
It's still unsure what caused Friday's Valentine's quake. South Carolina is sitting very firmly in the middle of a tectonic plate, with only very small faults - faults typically unknown until the earthquake actually occurs. Geologists are speculating it might have been caused by an underlying breakdown beneath the Appalachian Mountains, where sedimentation along a small fault line may have caused the friction for the quake.
South Carolina is the only state where it can be 70 degrees, have an ice storm, snow, and then a earthquake happens all within the same week
— Brandenburg ⚡️⚡️⚡️ (@brob_843) February 15, 2014
On the Richter scale, a 4.4 magnitude earthquake is considered "light to mild," with the most noticeable feature being a "rattling of indoor objects." Which means it's now time to sit back and watch the memes roll in:
South Carolina earthquake pic.twitter.com/4FMb9QjTtE
— Give me Internet (@GiveMeInternet) February 15, 2014
Image via News Distribution Network