Earth Science 7-Charleston, South Carolina

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Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Earth Science 7- Cities

Latitude/Longitude 32.77°N 80.01°W [1]

Elevation minimum of 6.096 m [2]

Major Body of Water Major Rivers - Santee River, Edisto River, Savannah River;

Major Lakes - Lake Marion, Lake Moultrie, Lake Murray, Hartwell Lake;

Bordering Ocean - Atlantic Ocean [3]


Climate Zone

Charleston is part of the Cfa-type, or humid sub-tropical, climate regions in the US. Charleston has hot, humid summers and mild winters with great amounts of rainfall all throughout the year. Summer is the longest and wettest season, while winter has less rainfall and is short.

Other cities that are classified as humid sub-tropical are:

Earth Science 7-Houston

Earth Science 7-Washington D.C., United States

Earth Science 7-New Orleans, Louisiana

Earth Science 7-Tokyo, Japan

Average Monthly Temperature


Jan: 13.2 Feb: 14.8 Mar: 18.5 Apr: 22.7 May: 26.4 Jun: 29.5 Jul: 31.1 Aug: 30.5 Sep: 28.2 Oct: 23.8 Nov: 19.5 Dec:15.3 [4]

Low (°C):

Jan: 4.8 Feb: 6.2 Mar: 10.1 Apr: 14.3 May: 18.8 Jun: 22.4 Jul: 24.1 Aug: 23.8 Sep: 21.5 Oct: 15.9 Nov: 11.1 Dec: 7.0 [5]

Average Monthly Rainfall (inches)

Jan: 2.9 Feb: 3.0 Mar: 3.6 Apr: 2.4 May: 3.2 Jun: 4.7 Jul: 6.8 Aug: 6.4 Sep: 5.1 Oct: 2.9 Nov: 2.1 Dec: 2.7 [6]

Climate Factors

Charleston is near 30°N so it is usually in the area of high pressure. Charleston is very close to the Atlantic Ocean so it is often very humid. The wet and humid air that blow off the Atlantic cause significant amounts of rain throughout the year. Also, Charleston is on the East coast and is vulnerable to hurricanes. The prevailing winds in Charleston in the summer and spring are southerly and northerly in the fall and winter. The water near Charleston causes the winters in it to be mild because of the water's heating effect.


Tectonic Plate Boundary Near Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina is on the North American Plate. Even though Charleston is not on a plate boundary, it receives earthquakes called interplate earthquakes because they occur on plates instead of on plate boundaries. Little is known about why they occur. [7]

Rocks Under Charleston

Charleston is very close to sea level and floods frequently. Charleston also used to be partially underwater, so there should be primarily sedimentary rocks under it. During 10 dives to the Charleston Bump, scientists have found that there are three distinct rock types, all sedimentary rocks, occuring in distinct layers- two limestones and manganese-phosphorite. Also, since Charleston is near the coastline and on a peninsula, and two rivers meet at the city, sediments chould be able to be carried to Charleston. No volcanic activity is near Charleston so there would not be many igneous rocks. Charleston does not have many quakes. Some earthquakes in Charleston are generated by the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is the boundary between the North American Plate and the African and Eurasian Plate and the nearest plate boundary for Charleston. Charleston is a little more than 2000 miles from the Mid Atlantic Ridge. A fault zone within the North American Plate accounts for the rest of its quakes. [8]