Azaleas And LiveOaks, Magnolia Plantation, Charleston
Coastal towns and cities often have hurricane-resistant Live oaks overarching the streets in historic neighborhoods, such as these on East Bay Street, Georgetown.
Boone Hall Plantation
South Carolina is a southern U.S. state that borders Georgia to the south and North Carolina to the north. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence from the British Crown during the American Revolution. The colony was originally named in honor of King Charles I, as Carolus is Latin for Charles. South Carolina was the first state to vote to secede from the Union and was a founding state of the Confederate States of America. According to an estimate by the United States Census Bureau, the state's population in 2009 was 4,512,800 and ranked 24th among the U.S. states. South Carolina contains 46 counties and its capital is Columbia.
South Carolina is bordered to the north by North Carolina; to the south and west by Georgia, located across the Savannah River; and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. South Carolina is composed of thirty-six geographic areas, whose boundaries roughly parallel the northeast/southwest Atlantic coastline. In the Southeast part of the state is the Coastal Zone, with the lowest elevations, which is divided into three separate areas, the Grand Strand, the Santee River Delta, and the Barrier Islands. To the Northwest (inland) are the Coastal Plains, often divided into the Outer and Inner Coastal Plains, also known as the Lowcountry. Further inland, and higher in elevation are the Sandhills, which used to be South Carolina's fall line. Inland from the Sandhills is the Piedmont, which is hilly, and contains many major cities. The region with the highest elevation, in the Northwest of the state, is the Blue Ridge Region, a mountainous area which is the smallest region. The state's coastline contains many salt marshes -and- estuaries, as well as natural ports such as Georgetown and Charleston. An unusual feature of the coastal plain is a large number of Carolina bays, the origins of which are uncertain. One prominent theory suggests that they were created by a meteor shower. The bays tend to be oval, lining up in a northwest to southeast orientation.
The Lowcountry is nearly flat and composed entirely of recent sediments such as sand, silt, and clay. Areas with better drainage make excellent farmland, though some land is swampy. Just west of the coastal plain is the Sandhills region, also known as the Midlands. This region of the state is thought to contain remnants of old coastal dunes from a time when the land was sunken or the oceans were higher.
The Piedmont (Upstate) region contains the roots of an ancient, eroded mountain chain. It is generally hilly, with thin, stony clay soils, and contains few areas suitable for farming. Much of the Piedmont was once farmed, with little success. It is now reforested. At the southeastern edge of the Piedmont is the fall line, where rivers drop to the coastal plain. The fall line was an important early source of water power. Mills built to harness this resource encouraged the growth of several cities, including the capital, Columbia. The larger rivers are navigable up to the fall line, providing a trade route for mill towns. The northwestern part of the Piedmont is also known as the Foothills. The Cherokee Parkway is a scenic driving route through this area. This is where Table Rock State Park is located.
Highest in elevation is the Blue Ridge Region, containing an escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which continue into North Carolina and Georgia, as part of the southern Appalachian chain. Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina's highest point at 3,560 feet (1,085 m) is located in this area. Also located in this area is Caesars Head State Park. The Chattooga River, located on the border between South Carolina and Georgia, is a favorite whitewater rafting destination.
Earthquakes do occur in South Carolina. The greatest frequency is along the central coastline of the state, in the Charleston area. South Carolina averages 10–15 earthquakes a year below magnitude 3 (FEMA). The Charleston Earthquake of 1886 was the largest quake to ever hit the Southeastern United States. This 7.2 magnitude earthquake killed 60 people and destroyed much of the city.
South Carolina has several major lakes covering over 683 square miles, or 437,672 acres (1,770 km2). The following are the lakes listed by size.
• Lake Marion 110,000 acres (450 km2)
• Lake Strom Thurmond 71,100 acres (290 km2)
• Lake Moultrie 60,000 acres (240 km2)
• Lake Hartwell 56,000 acres (230 km2)
• Lake Murray 50,000 acres (200 km2)
• Russell Lake 26,650 acres (110 km2)
• Lake Keowee 18,372 acres (70 km2)
• Lake Wylie 13,400 acres (50 km2)
• Lake Wateree 13,250 acres (50 km2)
• Lake Greenwood 11,400 acres (50 km2)
• Lake Jocassee 7,500 acres (30 km2)