Lately, a small M3.0 earthquake rattled southeastern Missouri on October 12. And today 3 more small earthquakes hit near Portageville, Lilbourn and Ridgely, right in the red zone of the New Madrid Fault.
The magnitude 3.0 earthquake occurred just before 8 a.m. Saturday and was centered about 2.7 miles (4 kilometers) southwest of Lilbourn. Although, no reports of damage or injuries were received, more than 40 reported feeling the quake on the USGS homepage.
The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut Earthquake Drill
Following FEMA’s “National Preparedness Month” in September, millions of people will participate in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake drill on Thursday, October 17, 2019 and practice how to Drop, Cover, and Hold.
Below, an animated video from FEMA about how to prepare for an earthquake and what to do during an earthquake:
In the past 25 years, scientists have learned that strong earthquakes in the central Mississippi Valley are not freak events but have occurred repeatedly in the geologic past. The area of major earthquake activity also has frequent minor shocks and is known as the New Madrid Seismic Zone. The NMSZ is made up of several thrust faults that stretch from Marked Tree, Arkansas to Cairo, Illinois.
Earthquakes in the central or eastern United States effect much larger areas than earthquakes of similar magnitude in the western United States. For example, the San Francisco, California, earthquake of 1906 (magnitude 7.8) was felt 350 miles away in the middle of Nevada, whereas the New Madrid earthquake of December 1811 rang church bells in Boston, Massachusetts, 1,000 miles away. Differences in geology east and west of the Rocky Mountains cause this strong contrast.
Recent studies have indicated that the New Madrid Seismic Zone is not the only ‘hot spot’ for earthquakes in the Central United States.
On June 18, 2002, a 5.0 magnitude earthquake struck Evansville, Indiana with an epicenter between Mt. Vernon and West Franklin in Posey County, in an area that is part of the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone. According to the Indiana University Indiana Geological Survey, while there was minor damage associated with the earthquake, the tremor was a warning to residents of the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone that earthquakes can, and do, strike close to home.
The Wabash Valley Seismic Zone is located in Southeastern Illinois and Southwestern Indiana and it is capable of producing ‘New Madrid’ size earthquake events. Since the discovery of this seismic zone, earthquake awareness and preparedness have increased. Residents are seeing that moderate sized earthquakes are not just occurring to the south, but occur right at home and can affect Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky.
Geologists in Indiana and Illinois have found liquefaction sites and sand dikes that shows the evidence of prehistoric earthquakes in the region. By examining the size of the dikes and sediment found within the sand dikes, geologists are able to estimate the size of the earthquake it took to create the formations.
We all must get better prepared for major earthquakes, and practice how to protect ourselves when they happen. The purpose of the ShakeOut is to help people and organizations do both.
You can join the already 2.7 million people already registered for the 2019 Great Central U.S. ShakeOuthere. Participating is a great way for your family or organization to be prepared to survive and recover quickly from big earthquakes – wherever you live, work, or travel.