What was that? Lowcountry feels shakes from Va. earthquake

Published: Aug. 24, 2011 at 1:36 AM EDT|Updated: Feb. 19, 2018 at 8:03 PM EST
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Many people in the Lowcountry felt waves from the earthquake in Virginia.

They say it shook cars, buildings and even a woman as she was lying in bed.

"We don't know when they could be coming," Erin Beutel, Professor of Geology at College of Charleston, said.

Beutel said there's no way to predict an earthquake.

"We don't want to scare people, but we want to be prepared," Beutel said.

She said the quake in Virginia has many people thinking about Charleston's last major quake on August 31, 1886, especially with that anniversary coming up.

Beutel said earthquakes of that magnitude, 6.9 to 7.3, typically only happen every 400 to 500 years. But there's always a risk.

"Unfortunately mother nature doesn't always stick with patterns displayed in the past," Beutel said.

The earthquake in Virginia was 5.8, and people felt the waves up and down the east coast.

In downtown Charleston, employees at MUSC said they didn't realize what was happening, but said they felt dizzy and could feel the building move.

Beutel said we're in a more earthquake-prone area than Virginia, and it's important to have a plan. Keep an earthquake kit in your house with clothes, food and water. Have a designated meeting place for you and your loved ones after a quake in case you're unable to reach them by phone.

Experts said if you feel an earthquake, do not run outside. Instead, get under a table. It's much safer there than outdoors around falling debris.

Copyright WCSC 2011. All rights reserved.