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College of Arts & Sciences
Earth Sciences and Resources Institute (ESRI-SC)


Edgefield GPR

2014 Edgefield Earthquake Geophysical Experiment

On February 14, 2014 there was a magnitude 4.1 earthquake felt over a large area in the southeastern United States. After some investigation the epicenter was located in Edgefield, SC with a focal mechanism demonstrating mostly reverse motion. Two days later another earthquake occurred in close proximity with mostly strike slip motion, which could
possibly be related to the initial Valentine’s Day earthquake. 

The purpose of this research is to identify the fault that caused the Edgefield earthquake on February 14th 2014. This fault has not yet been discovered and was the cause of a 4.1 magnitude earthquake. People from around the area, including myself, felt the earthquake shake for a brief moment and were left confused until they realized what phenomenon had just occurred. The initial earthquake occurred at 10:23 PM. It was a result of thrust faulting at about 5.2 km (3.2 mil) depth. The after shock was recorded as a magnitude 3.0 earthquake from strike slip faulting at

3:23 PM February, 16th 2014 at about 7.0 km (4.3 mi) depth. The data form this survey will be used to analyze this area for indicators of a fault. The survey consists of one 270 m resistivity survey, one 470 m GRP survey at 50 Mhz and one 475 m refraction survey, taken in two parts. The GRP was processed in Promax and the resistivity survey was processed in Earth Imager. The refraction survey was analyzed in Promax. The first breaks were identified to determine the velocities of the first and second layers. The images obtained from this survey will be used to detect any sign of a subsurface discontinuity. The goal is to determine a lateral and depth location of the Edgefield fault.

The southeastern United States, specifically South Carolina, has a history of damaging earthquakes, such as the 1886 Charleston Earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 on the Richter scale (Murphy, 2006). Intraplate seismicity is poorly understood and the first step in mitigating hazards associated with earthquakes in the southeastern United States is to identify the faults in this region. The purpose of this study is to use shallow geophysical methods including, refraction, ground penetrating radar (GPR), and resistivity to image the potentially unrecognized fault in this area using the one road potentially perpendicular to strike of the Valentine’s Day earthquake. The line location was chosen along a road perpendicular to a creek in an area where the creek jogs to the NE. It is common for creeks/rivers to follow fault geometry so the purposed survey is aiming to image a fault causing the change in creek geometry.