In making this choice to demonstrate that he represents ALL the residents of North Charleston, despite his own personal feelings about their affectional preferences or orientations, I think that Mayor Summey is demonstrating that he is a statesman and leader of ALL the people. He's chosen to support "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" and not letting his personal reservations (to which he is fully entitled) get in the way of properly carrying out the duties of his public office. Huzza, Huzza for Hizonner! --
Those who wish to read the unexpurgated text of the history of the S.C. State Ports Authority prior to its Bowdlerization by that agency, and an itemized list of the changes they made against my strenuous objection, may do so at the three libraries where I deposited the before-and-after versions. They are the South Carolina Historical Society, Charleston; The Charleston County Library, Charleston; and the South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. And if, for some reason, those copies have disappeared, researchers may contact me, as mine hasn't.
Richard N. Cote', Editor-in-Chief,
483 Old Carolina Court
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464 USA
Phone: (843) 881-6080
The article ("New Study: Charleston overreacting...") contains glaring errors of fact and assumptions about earthquakes in the Charleston area and the hazards they present today. The most up-to-date information on South Carolina's earthquake history and hazards can be found at www.scearthquakes.com.
Charleston needs far more leaders like Building Director Bill Lewis, who told school board members that “he wanted no part of the Rivers [School] rehab project if it didn’t include seismic upgrades.” It’s this kind of man who is keeping South Carolina’s children from being killed by the hundreds—and perhaps thousands—in the next local earthquake disaster.
In addition, there is no man or woman in South Carolina who knows the earthquake damage potential to Charleston-area buildings than Carl H. Simmons, Charleston County's Director of Building Inspections. He stated that the repairs of buildings built before the 1886 earthquakes were often done to shoddy to the point of criminally negligent standards, and that post-1886 "new" buildings were no better built than the ones that collapsed during the earthquake.
1. The 1886 Death Toll. In this article, the death toll for the 1886 earthquake was misstated as "60 people." This statistic has been wrong since the fall of 1886, when the city listed 83 earthquake-specific fatalities in its official city death record. Recent research, published in my book, "City of Heroes: The Great Charleston Earthquake of 1886," positively documented at least 124 deaths and over 140 serious injuries. There were more which went unrecorded.
2. Where will the next "Big One" (catastrophic, 1886-grade, Magnitude 7.3 +/- event) happen in SC? That is known to every geologist who has ever studied South Carolina earthquakes. It will likely happen along the Woodstock Fault, which runs through the center of the Middleton Place-Summerville Seismic Zone (MPSSZ), which generates 8-12 NEW earthquakes every year. The latest example was a small (Magnitude 2.4) earthquake beneath Hanahan on October 13, 2007. Over 2,000 new earthquakes have originated in the MPSSZ since 1886. "Where" earthquakes will strike next is an easy call for geologists: they will strike in exactly the same places as the last ones did. The reason is simple: unlike hurricanes, which have a different track each time, earthquake fault zones don't move. The next ones will come from the exact same places as the last ones.
3. When will the “Next Big One” Strike” We know the average time between catastrophic earthquakes the Charleston area is between 500 to 550 years – but this tells us nothing about when the next big one will strike. Earthquakes strike when the pressure along a fault line builds up to a certain level, and is then discharged in a burst of energy called an earthquake. But earthquakes do not run on a countdown clock. The next “big one” here may not happen for 1,000 years – or it may happen tomorrow afternoon. We must be ready NOW.
4. How bad will the next “big one” be here? Catastrophic almost beyond imagination – and this is not just alarmist theory. All of South Carolina, and about a third of North Carolina and George will suffer structural damage – just as in 1886. A 2001 FEMA / SCEMD computer simulation of a repeat of the 1886 earthquake IN THE Charleston area during daylight hours produced these chilling and reliable predictions (view the whole report at www.scearthquakes.com):
• Vastly greater destruction of life and property. This is due to the enormous population growth since 1886 and the lack of earthquake-resistant building construction standards until the last few years.
• At least 900 fatalities, compared to 124 known deaths in 1886.
• At least 8,000 serious injuries, compared to 140 known serious injuries in 1886.
• Approximately 45,000 total casualties (dead and injured), compared to approximately 500 in 1886.
• More than 200,000 people displaced, with 60,000 requiring short-term (under 90 days) shelter, compared to 40,000 in 1886.
• At least $200 billion in total economic losses from damage to buildings, interruption of businesses, and damage to transportation and utility systems, compared to approximately $100 million in 2006 dollars in 1886. About 77 percent of the losses will occur in the Charleston-Berkeley-Dorchester region.
• More than 250 fires, compared to eight in 1886. The lack of operational firefighting equipment and a supply of water to fight the fires will be major concerns—just as in 1886.
• Significant damage to more than 200 schools and over 100 fire stations. Because of insufficient seismic building code standards and the age of the majority of buildings, the majority of structures in the State, specifically schools and fire stations, are vulnerable to damage. The catastrophic failure or partial collapse of one or more school buildings during a school day could greatly increase casualties.
• About 20 out of 108 hospitals will be incapacitated, mostly within the tri-county area, where most of the casualties will occur.
• About 800 bridges will be rendered unusable, thereby preventing first responders who try to reach victims.
South Carolina is one of the four most earthquake-active states in the nation. We must pay close attention to the clear and present dangers — or risk the deaths of thousands of innocent people who could have been saved.
Richard N. Côté, President
South Carolina Earthquake Awareness Association
Author of City of Heroes: The Great Charleston Earthquake of 1886
Webmaster of www.scearthquakes.com
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