Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not A Pleasant Surprise, I Think...!

Most of the time, folks like surprises. I don't think this was one of those times, however!

Even by today's standards, this was an absolute disaster in more ways than one! At the time, there was no way of knowing anything like this could even happen. In a place where earthquakes were very uncommon, where the building codes were not up to earthquake standards, and the presence of any major fault was totally unknown...this had to be a real nightmare!

Aug 31, 1886:
Earthquake shakes Charleston, South Carolina

An earthquake near Charleston, South Carolina, on this day in 1886 leaves more than 100 people dead and hundreds of buildings destroyed. This was the largest recorded earthquake in the history of the southeastern United States.

The earthquake was preceded by foreshocks felt in Summerville, South Carolina, on August 27 and 28 but, still, no one was prepared for the strength of the August 31 quake. At 9:51 p.m., the rumbling began, and it was felt as far away as Boston, Chicago and Cuba. There was damage to buildings as far away as Ohio and Alabama. It was Charleston, South Carolina, though, that took the biggest hit from the quake, which is thought to have had a magnitude of about 7.6. Almost all of the buildings in town were seriously damaged. It is estimated that 14,000 chimneys fell from the earthquake. It caused multiple fires and water lines and wells were ruptured. The total damage was in excess of $5.5 million (about $112 million in today's money).

While there were no apparent surface cracks as a result of this tremor, railroad tracks were bent in all directions in some locations. Acres of land were liquefied. This quake remained a mystery for many years since there were no known underground faults for 60 miles in any direction. However, better science and detection methods have recently uncovered a concealed fault along the coastal plains of Virginia and the Carolinas. Still, a quake of this magnitude remains highly unlikely in this location.

We can only hope that nothing like this happens again any time soon! Even with all the improvements in building codes and fire prevention, this would be the cause of unspeakable horror.

Ready for coffee on the patio? Maybe we could do a little rain dance! I'll lead...!


chinasyndrome said...

Wow,I hadn't heard of that one. Mother nature,sometimes she gives,sometimes she takes.


Dizzy-Dick said...

Like Chiasynddrome, I had not heard of that one. A 7.6 is bad anywhere. When the ground liquafies, nothing stays standing.

Momlady said...

And the further you are from the last one, the closer you are to the next one.

HermitJim said...

Hey China...
I hadn't heard of it either until I ran across this info at!

You can find the most interesting stuff there! I look at it almost daily!

Thanks, my friend, for coming by today!

Hey DD...
I can only imagine that it was a total mess!

I'm not sure I ever want to be close to any ground that liquefies! Sounds pretty bad to me!

Thanks for coming by today, Dizzy!

Hey Momlady...
Never heard it put that way before. However, it does make sense!

Thanks for dropping in today!

Anonymous said...

I doubt that a single house would stand if we got an earthquake that big here. The biggest we´ve had made some chandeliers rattle and some foundations to get some cracks but that´s all. We would definitely get a nasty surprise that´s for sure.

Have a great day!