It's time to talk about what we can expect when the New Madrid rips and tears and you might be asking what is the New Madrid and why do I need to know about it? Well, it might possibly effect you right where you live so let's talk about that.
The New Madrid fault line essentially follows the Mississippi River from Illinois to Arkansas. The last major adjustment of this seismic zone was way back in December, 1811 and since science says this happens about every 200 years we're way overdue for another big adjustment and we have a lot of ground to cover.
This seismic zone is a series of faults under the continental crust which can't be seen on the surface. The fault system extends 150 miles south from Cairo Illinois through Caruthersville Missouri, down through Blythesville Arkansas to Marked Tree Arkansas. It then dips into Kentucky near Fulton and into Tennessee near Reelfoot Lake and extends southeast to Dyersburg Tennessee SO it crosses five state lines and crosses the Mississippi River in at least three places.
Seems like a local affair that will only affect five states, but wait.........not so fast. The last time this happened Bells rang in Boston Massachusetts.
The first of three magnitutde 8 quakes totally destroyed the town of New Madrid and there were only 400 people living there at the time but there were 2 more magnitude 8 quakes that continued to shake and rip the surface. Residents said that the ground rolled in visible waves and land sank and bulged in places, huge cracks swallowed things whole and it was ultimately felt in 25 states as far away as the Carolinas, Washington DC and into Canada. Charleston, SC was devastated with damage.
The crew of the New Orleans (the first steamboat on the Mississippi, which was on her maiden voyage) reported mooring to an island only to awake in the morning and find that the island had disappeared below the waters of the Mississippi River.
The area surrounding the New Madrid is essentially mud, sandy soil, wet from the Mississippi River and Missouri and Tennessee and Ohio rivers which join near the New Madrid fault line, and liquifaction (sort of like quicksand) will affect a vast area far and wide. The jolts that come from earthquakes which we've already been experiencing can rearrange saturated soil and any heavy objects on top of the soils can sink or topple over, Now think about all the buildings that line the whole New Madrid seismic zone. There's a lot of people living in these areas. Alot of bridges and infrastructure to consider and let's not forget about all the nuclear facilities that tend to be built near waterways. This is serious business folks.
The government has been preparing for this event for more than a decade and President Obama has been trying to tell people to prepare without frightening the population. Expect mass bridges to be torn, trains derailed, gas explosions, water main breaks which create huge sinkholes, roadways impassable, lots of people displaced. It will make Katrina look like childs play.
Back in 1811 through 1812, there were 1000's of aftershocks that shook people to the core all through the winter.
The comparable 1895 Charleston, MO quake covered the eastern half of the US, primarily affected, of course, were the states central to the New Madrid fault line - Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. But the effect covered at least half of the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Iowa, and crossed the border into the states of New York and Florida.
There's no fighting with Mother Nature when she's angry but there are ways to prepare and the USA EBN network is here to help you through all this as best we can. Fema and the like can only do so much. The rest is up to you. Be safe, get prepared.
Till next time