Multiple earthquakes rattle South Carolina, more expected, USGS says

South Carolina was rocked by a series of earthquakes on Wednesday and the USGS said it is part of a larger ongoing swarm in the state.

Multiple small quakes and at least two measuring above 3.0 in intensity were recorded by the United States Geological Survey on Wednesday. Since Sunday, there have been more than a half dozen reported.

Most are centered near Elgin, South Carolina, just northeast of Columbia.

According to the USGS, some of the larger quakes could be felt as far away as Spartanburg, Augusta in Georgia, and Charlotte in North Carolina, and to North Charleston, all just over 80 miles away.

The USGS said these latest quakes are part of an ongoing event in central South Carolina that started in late December of last year. About 40 earthquakes, measuring between 1.3 and 3.5 have occurred, with four previous quakes reaching above 3.0. Wednesday’s quakes were some of the strongest recorded in this swarm.

Earthquakes in this part of the United States typically can be felt further away due to the geological makeup and the fact most quakes are extremely shallow, happening less than five miles below the ground.

While earthquakes are not uncommon in the state, this many quakes in a short time is unusual, the USGS said. The USGS said it is "extremely rare for them to be foreshocks to much larger earthquakes." Still, the swarm will likely continue for the near future.

While numerous of reports of shaking have come into the USGS, there have been few, if any, reports of damage during the swarm.

Union County, South Carolina holds the record for the largest quake in the region measuring a 4.8 and nearby Monticello Reservoir is known to have earthquakes, but neither are connected to this current series. It also is about 86 miles away from the epicenter of the 1886 Charleston earthquake that measured a 7.0.

The USGS said this swarm is not related to oil or natural gas production as there are no known reserves being pulled from the area.

These earthquakes are also about 140 miles northwest of Metter, Georgia, where earlier this month a 3.9 earthquake woke up a good portion of Georgia.