New Madrid Earthquakes
December 11, 2012
Isn’t it strange to be reading about earthquakes occurring in the middle of the United States? Yet, it has happened and continues to occur. An earthquake centered in Oklahoma struck on November 6, 2011 and was widely felt throughout the Kansas City area.
Most recently, on December 8, 2012, a minor earthquake was recorded along the New Madrid fault line. This active fault line has become quite famous for activity that has been documented for over 200 years. In fact, a review of a map maintained by CERI (Center for Earthquake Research and Information) shows a preponderance of quake activity along the New Madrid fault line this year.
You may recall reading or hearing about a series of earthquakes (estimated magnitude between 7 and 9 on the Richter scale) that occurred in 1811-1812 and rattled parts of Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Back then, in the recently purchased Louisiana Territory, this sparsely populated area experienced events that were extremely ferocious in nature and caused strange natural phenomena to occur. Eyewitnesses reported the Mississippi River running backwards, large fissures in the ground, sand boils, earthquake smog, loud thunder, and strange behavior exhibited by animals. The earthquakes were named the New Madrid earthquakes because the effects were felt most strongly in New Madrid, a small frontier town in southeast Missouri.
While not topmost on people’s minds today, authorities continually assume the possibility of a catastrophic earthquake occurring at some point in the future. Thus, preparations are ongoing and take on a sense of seriousness not only because of the unusual climatic events that have taken place over the past several years, but also to minimize the loss of life in this heavily populated part of the country.
Blue Springs North Branch