Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's Great Southeast ShakeOut Day

Thousands of students and workers across the Southeast stopped what they were doing and ducked for cover at 10:17 a.m. Thursday.

They were participants in the second annual Great Southeast ShakeOut, a drill which is part of Earthquake Awareness Week. Participants were practicing how they should respond in the event of an earthquake.

I'm sure everyone in the Charlotte region realizes that the idea of an earthquake in this region is not far-fetched. Sure, we're not in a prime zone, but the ground has shaken many times in recent years.

According to the ShakeOut website, at least two Charlotte schools -- Idlewild Elementary and McKee Road Elementary -- were among the participants. So were a number of business offices.

More than 1.6 million people were expected to participate in Thursday morning's drill.

In recent history, you probably remember the Aug. 23, 2011, earthquake which gave the Charlotte area a jolt. That quake, with a 5.8 intensity, was centered about 40 miles northwest of Richmond. It was the strongest earthquake in the eastern United States since 1897.

The big one, of course, was the quake that hit Charleston on Sept. 1, 1886. That one had a 7.3 intensity, and it left at least 60 people dead. The quake was felt as far away as central Ohio and Havana, and it gave the Charlotte region a serious shake, according to reports at the time. In recent years, earthquakes have been reported in Charleston in November 1952, August 1959, March and July 1960, and October 1967.

Authorities say a quake similar to the 1886 shake in the Charleston area would result in a huge loss of life, along with severe property damage.

A 5.2 earthquake, centered near Waynesville (west of Asheville) was reported on Feb. 21, 1916. That temblor was felt several states away but did little damage.

I've written before about the Dec. 13, 1879, earthquake that was centered in southeastern Mecklenburg County. That one had a 4.0 intensity.


Seutonius Bubba Lou Twanchario said...

Oh my. Yet another potential natural disaster to worry about. Will we ever get a break?