Should we prepare for another new madrid earthquake?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
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    The New Madrid Seismic Zone 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. Earthquakes that occur there potentially threaten parts of seven U.S. states: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

    The 150 mi (240 km) long fault system, which extends into five states, stretches southward from Cairo, Illinois, through Hayti, Missouri, Caruthersville and New Madrid, through Blytheville, Arkansas, to Marked Tree. It also covers a part of west Tennessee, near Reelfoot Lake, extending southeast into Dyersburg.

    Most of the seismicity is located from 3 to 15 mi (5 to 25 km) beneath the Earth's surface.

    The last major Earthquake to hit this region was back in 1811 - 1812. In 1895 a magnitude 6.6 Earthquake hit this region. A bridge was cracked and several chimneys collapsed.

    Since 1974 over 4,000 very small earthquakes have hit this region, most being too small to be felt.

    The New Madrid Seismic Zone is made up of reactivated faults that formed when what is now North America began to split or rift apart during the breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia in the Neoproterozoic Era (about 750 million years ago).

    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, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri 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. This being said it is impossible to predict exactly when the next large earthquake will happen.

    Researchers say that at least eight earthquakes with estimated magnitude 6.5 to 7.5 have occurred in the last 20,000 years. The largest of the quakes was a centered about 25 km (15 miles) west of Vincennes, Indiana, about 6,100 years ago. The fault zone is considered an aulacogen related to the New Madrid fault line

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Madrid_Seismic_Zo...

    Source(s): MSc
  • 1 decade ago

    There's only so much that can be done. And cost is an issue. To spend tens of billions preparing for something that may not happen for thousands of years, and may not be as bad when it does is hard to justify. Personally I'd just avoid brick buildings in the area, and low lying properties too.

  • 1 decade ago

    Another earthquake will strike, though nobody knows when. Building codes should be strengthened and enforced. People should be drilled for when an earthquake strikes

    Source(s): ..
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