Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Alert! New Madrid Fault Increasing Activity. 4.0 Earthquake In Missouri.

New Madrid Fault Stretches, Rolls Back Over for Another Ten Minutes Sleep

New Madrid Fault Zone.jpg
That red smear actually is a series of dots representing the 4,000 earthquakes in the zone since 1976.
A 4.0 earthquake within the New Madrid Seismic Zone gently shook southeast Missouri Tuesday morning at 3:58 a.m. The quake was centered about nine miles east of Sikeston, Missouri, and no damage or injuries were reported.

Just ten days ago, engineers, scientists, emergency first responders and earthquake history fans gathered at Saint Louis University for an event commemorating the two-hundredth anniversary of the mighty New Madrid Earthquake of 1811 and 1812. That quake, estimated to be an eight on the Richter scale, wrought devastation throughout the New Madrid Zone of Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky. This is the quake that famously made the Mississippi River run backward -- the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2010 was magnitude ten, by way of comparison.

So, is this morning's temblor a precursor to something larger? No one can say. Some researches, such as Seth Stein (author of Disaster Deferred), believe the New Madrid Fault is shutting down, and we'll never have that devastating quake. Still, in May FEMA is holding a national-level emergency response drill in the New Madrid Seismic Zone that will simulate a catastrophic earthquake. Better to be prepared than caught unaware.


Logo Recent Earthquakes in Central US


Index Map


The New Madrid Seismic Zone (pronounced /nj ˈmædrɪd/), sometimes called the New Madrid Fault Line, is a major seismic zone and a prolific source of intraplate earthquakes (earthquakes within a tectonic plate) in the southern and midwestern United States, stretching to the southwest from New Madrid, Missouri.
The New Madrid fault system was responsible for the 1811–1812 New Madrid earthquakes and may have the potential to produce large earthquakes in the future. Since 1812 frequent smaller earthquakes were recorded in the area.[1]

Earthquakes that occur in the New Madrid Seismic Zone potentially threaten parts of seven American states: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi.[2]

Potential for future earthquakes

In a report filed in November 2008, The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency warned that a serious earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone could result in "the highest economic losses due to a natural disaster in the United States," further predicting "widespread and catastrophic" damage across Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and particularly Tennessee, where a 7.7 magnitude quake or greater would cause damage to tens of thousands of structures affecting water distribution, transportation systems, and other vital infrastructure.[22] The earthquake is expected to also result in many thousands of fatalities, with more than 4,000 of the fatalities expected in Memphis alone.

The potential for the recurrence of large earthquakes and their impact today on densely populated cities in and around the seismic zone has generated much research devoted to understanding in the New Madrid Seismic Zone. By studying evidence of past quakes and closely monitoring ground motion and current earthquake activity, scientists attempt to understand their causes and recurrence intervals.

In October 2009, a team composed of University of Illinois and Virginia Tech researchers headed by Amr S. Elnashai, funded by FEMA, considered a scenario where all three segments of the New Madrid fault ruptured simultaneously. The report found that there would be significant damage in the eight states studied – Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee – with the probability of additional damage in states farther from the NMSZ. Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri would be most severely impacted, and the cities of Memphis, Tennessee and St. Louis, Missouri would be severely damaged. The report estimated 86,000 casualaties, including 3,500 fatalities; 715,000 damaged buildings; and 7.2 million people displaced, with 2 million of those seeking shelter, primarily due to the lack of utility services. Direct economic losses, according to the report, would be at least $300 billion. [23]

Earthquakes in the New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones

No comments: