When Charleston was Destroyed

john's picture

On January 9, 1861, the first shots of the American Civil War were fired in Charleston, South Carolina.  Cadets from the military school "The Citadel" opened fire on the Union ship Star of the West as it was entering Charleston harbor.  Twenty-six years later, the city of Charleston was destroyed by the largest earthquake to strike the eastern United States in recorded history.

Today it is estimated that the earthquake that struck Charleston at 9:50 pm on August 31, 1886 had a magnitude of at least 6.6, and possibly as large as 7.3, comparable to the event that destroyed Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in January 2010.  The ground shaking in the Charleston event was intense, as large as Mercalli Intensity X, a level that can cause extreme damage.  Duration of the shaking was over 1 minute, and the region most affected was found to be 30 to 50 km long.  Soil liquifaction and sand boils were widely reported.  Major damage occurred at locations as far away as Tybee Island, Georgia, over 100 km distant.  Structural damage to buildings was observed in cities hundreds of km away.  The earthquake was felt as far away as Boston to the north, Chicago and Milwaukee in the midwest, and as far west as New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Charleston earthquake was an example of an intraplate earthquake, an event that occurs far from any tectonic plate boundary.  The detailed causes of these events are not known.  Other examples of similar earthquakes were the New Madrid, Missouri earthquakes of 1811-1812, and the Cape Ann earthquake near Boston in 1755.

While major earthquakes along the east coast of the United States are relatively rare, when they occur, they are capable of causing major and widespread destruction.  In the Charleston event, damage was estimated in excess of $8 million, an enormous sum at the time.  Deaths were estimated at between 80 and 100, with many more injured.  Even today, small earthquakes are still observed in the Charleston area.  Some of these are probably aftershocks of the event that destroyed Charleston 134 years ago.



Brooks's picture

Earthquake brings lots of damage around the state and the various people are losing their life as well in this natural damage. Thank you so much for sharing the historical reviews on this ukbestessay link with us these are pretty thoughtful and informative. Keep it up with your great upcoming article would like to visit again to get acknowledged.

Addisonadam's picture

While significant quakes along the east bank of the United States are generally uncommon, when they happen, they are fit for bringing about major and boundless annihilation. In the Charleston occasion, harm was assessed in abundance of $8 million, a tremendous whole at the time. Passings were evaluated at in the vicinity of 80 and 100, with numerous more harmed. Indeed, even today, little quakes are as yet seen in the Charleston region. Some of these are likely post-quake tremors of the occasion that annihilated Charleston 134 years back. Groovy Essays

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