Earthquake experts convene at College of Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A team of scientists from New Zealand arrived in the Lowcountry Sunday to talk with local lawmakers, scientists, and emergency officials about the 2011 earthquake in that country.

Officials hope the information out of New Zealand will help them in the event of a major earthquake in South Carolina.

The New Zealand scientists will meet with city, county and state officials to talk about what lessons they learned about the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that killed 185 people and destroyed one-third of all buildings in the town of Christchurch.

Nearly 7,000 homes were abandoned after the 2011 quake.

The scientists decided to make the trek to South Carolina after College of Charleston geology professor Steven Jaum found similarities in the 2011 earthquake in New Zealand and then 1886 earthquake in Charleston.

Jaum studied photographs of damaged brick buildings and found photos from Christchurch's Columbo Street are strikingly similar to Charleston's Market Street after the cities' respective earthquakes.

Liquefaction craters that opened near the current location of the Charleston International Airport in 1886 were large enough to swallow automobiles; in 2011 several automobiles were swallowed by similar liquefaction craters in the suburbs of Christchurch.

One of the presentations will be open to the public. The display will be held Tuesday at 10 a.m. in room 129 of CofC's School of Science and Math Building on Calhoun Street.