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Greenville is a mid-sized city located in the upstate of South Carolina. It is the county seat of Greenville County and the principal city in the Greenville-Mauldin-Easley Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 56,006 people, and an urbanized area population of 302,194.
Greenville is in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains; therefore, the city and county contain many hills and knolls. The highest point in South Carolina, Sassafras Mountain, is located nearby in the northern part of Pickens County, which is adjacent to Greenville County to the west. Paris Mountain, home to many of the area's television and radio station towers, is the second most prominent peak in the area, and overlooks the downtown area from less than 7 miles (11 km) away.
Greenville is located approximately halfway between the cities of Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina along Interstate I-85, and its metropolitan area is further serviced by I-385 and I-185.
Gold and other minerals have been mined in Greenville since the early 1800s. Rubies, amethysts, garnets, tourmalines, unakite and emeralds occur within 60 miles (97 km) of the city, likely washed down from the nearby mountains. Granite abounds in the area and is mined in Greenville as well as in neighboring counties.
Greenville sits on the associated faults of the Brevard Fault, a mostly quiet system which has, nonetheless, experienced some earthquakes of up to 6.0 on the Richter scale in the past 50 years; however, local earthquakes usually measuring not more than 3.0 are more the norm. Most of the city sits on various fault lines which seem to come together around Paris Mountain, a monadnock below which sits the city. This activity could be connected with the construction of Lake Hartwell.
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