Skip to comments.Four (Small) Earthquakes Last Week Near Memphis, TN
Posted on 01/10/2008 4:35:30 AM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE
Perhaps these small, easily ignored earthquakes should remind us that it was only 200 years ago that the largest earthquake in the US struck in this same region. They are clustered in a straight line between Paducah, KY; Memphis, TN; and Cape Girardeau, MO - Very close to the New Madrid quake of 1811-1812.
It's dismissed almost casually in most of today's "history" books as an "inactive" fault, or as an earthquake not occurring in a fault zone at all, but as we see exaggerated environmental scares every day (every hour ?) we should realize that real (uncontrollable) dangers exist even in Mid-America.
I've never seen the slightest evidence of this.
Calling Edwards! Calling Edwards! I want to Sue!
Does $3 Quadrillion sound like a good figger!
This is happening because the earthquake threat in that area is ignored.
Because of the real and tangible threat, every household in that area should have at least a couple of weeks emergency rations/gear stowed away. But do they - Noooooo - they think it just can’t happen in their life times or they think that the government will rebuild for them.
I don't think it's ignored. Certainly isn't ignored by geologists and governments. I regularly see articles in the scientific press and in the popular press about the threat of the New Madrid Fault Zone.
Plenty of citizens may ignore it, but that's also true in California.
If anything I think what perhaps gets ignored is the (likely greater than New Madrid) earthquake threat in places like Utah, Reno Nevada, Albuquerque, and other places in the intermountain West.
This was no *small* geological event in American history.
From what I’ve seen, this went on for a couple of yrs. with several major quakes.
If it happened today.......
Move to California!
I need to write faster!
If the New Madrid busts loose, it could take out the TN River dams, and most of the bridges over the Mississippi, TN and Ohio Rivers between Vicksburg and Paducah, as well as wrecking highway overpasses etc. Many major natural gas pipelines from the Gulf to the Northeast could also be broken. It would be difficult to bring in relief supplies and reconstruction equipment, because the highway, river and RR infrastructure would all be cut or blocked at the same time in an interlocking way.
I grew up in L.A. I take earth wakes very seriously.
Anyone seen Elvis lately? Maybe he’s up and doing aerobics.
People settle in Earthquake, Flood, Tornado, Hurricane and Blizzard prone areas and then blame the government because a natural catastrophe strikes them? Stupidity reigns!
I don’t live too far from this area. Maybe I’ll hit the Disaster Lottery some day, too.
Nah ... 8<)
Already served my time in h*ll out there.
(We got woken up here in NW GA (Atlanta area) a few years ago by a quake in Alabama ... )
I was here in Memphis and didn’t feel a thing.
The show showed archeology info which was fascinating & the bad earthquakes has happened more than once in the Memphis & other areas .
It would make what Hurricane Kat did to New Orleans look like a mud puddle.
With those small a series of quakes?
True, you almost certainly would not feel anything below a 3.
One of the few things Tiger High does right:
“People settle in Earthquake, Flood, Tornado, Hurricane and Blizzard prone areas and then blame the government because a natural catastrophe strikes them? Stupidity reigns!”
Stupidity must have caused me to have been born less than 20 miles from New Madrid. It most certainly caused those poor people who were displaced by Reelfoot Lake in 1811/1812 to regret their choice of a place to have been born.
Hush, logic is not acceptable in some replies.
You might as well be living in Northridge, my friend. The changes in the course of the Mississippi are more than just climate and storm related. (Take a look at a map.) They are almost definitely New Madrid Quake Zone related.
As many others on this thread have pointed out, the evidence is strong that New Madrid activity is cyclical, and that we are due for a period of increased activity. I live on the Hurricane Coast, and you get pretty tuned into the barometric pressure around here. And for people living pretty much where you are, it's not a matter of if but when.
That is probably a good thing. Small quakes tend to release the stress on a fault zone gradually -- instead of letting it continue to build up for one big quake event.
I experienced some New Madrid tremors back in 1976 between New Albany MS and Memphis.
Rattled some stuff off the 7-11 shelves
first I knew of it
the old quake 200 years ago was a doozy
and mud rolls.....i guess the flooding is a big fear........aside from structure buckling
VI. Felt by all, many frightened. Some heavy furniture moved; a few instances of fallen plaster. Damage slight.
VII. Damage negligible in buildings of good design and construction; slight to moderate in well-built ordinary structures; considerable damage in poorly built or badly designed structures; some chimneys broken.
VIII. Damage slight in specially designed structures; considerable damage in ordinary substantial buildings with partial collapse. Damage great in poorly built structures. Fall of chimneys, factory stacks, columns, monuments, walls. Heavy furniture overturned.
IX. Damage considerable in specially designed structures; well-designed frame structures thrown out of plumb. Damage great in substantial buildings, with partial collapse. Buildings shifted off foundations.
Here's a chart comparing the damage zones from an earthquake on the New Madrid and one in Southern California.
I live right in the middle of the Zone VII area of Kentucky.
There was a SciFi story where the New Madrid quake occurs at the same time that the Eastern Rockies upthrust line "slumps". The entire Plains States from Texas to South Dakota disappears under a new Inland Sea! This sea existed millions of years ago and right here in Dallas there are fossil remains of gigantic prehistoric fish at the Science Museum. They swam in the sea back then and they could come again!
In the SciFi story the benefits abound. North Dakota seaside Beach front property booms. Aquaculture replaces agriculture!
Don't remember the title oo author of story. Any help out there?
Well, that should help me to sleep soundly!!!!!
I was going to ping you on this one, see you are already here.
Stay safe from those tornados in your area.
NOLA would be a sideshow in comparison.
The first hand accounts of the NM quake are apocolyptic. BIrds going crazy, the earth rolling in waves, fissures and cracks swallowing people, large trees split from bottom up by cracks, “earthquake lightning,” some really really crazy stuff.
Imagine if Memphis was flattened, adn the inner city survivors blamed “the man” for building bad housing for them, “to get them killed.”
Then, no food or water for weeks. Anger, racial hatred, fear and starvation would be a lethal mix, socially. It would make Katrina look like a day in the park.
A fictional New Madrid quake is part of my new book. Research has really been eye-opening.
They should, but there is some reason to believe that New Madrid won't produce another major quake, and the smaller quakes today are aftershocks from the last major quake. Sensors indicate that the ground isn't moving, and there is no evidence of major earthquakes beyond a thousand or so years ago.
Sometimes major earthquakes pop up in unexpected places like what happened in Charleston in the 1800's. They are rare but one never knows.
Was fat man Al Gore in Memphis last week?
C35. Just imagine inner city Memphis survivors pouring out into the countryside looking for food, and not exactly in a cheerful mood.
The last bit of the story acknowledges the huge loss of life etc. but goes on to say the inland sea was much better than the great plains because of transportation and aquaculture
Meant do not recall title etc.
An 1812 level event might not happen for 500 years, or it might happen next year. I’d bet on a few more centuries before another 1812 event. But like you said, one could whack a city like Charleston next. It’s happened before, it will happen again. When and where are unknown.
I was born and raised in New Madrid County; your new book will be of great interest to me. Be sure and let us know when you get it published.
You bet. It’ll be at least a year. The quake is background to the novel, which is set a few years in the future. That is, the quake has happened a year before the events portrayed in the novel. Western TN is practically cut off from the world, Katrina on steroids, for much longer.
I have often stopped in Paducah when driving cross-country to Atlanta or Chattanooga.
I have wondered how openly the dangers from the Land between the Lakes dams have been discussed in that area.
he is a New Madrid compendium for reference
Has a nice tool where you can plug in a time frame, like the last fifty years, and a magnitude range like 3 to 8 and then generate a map.
We have had a good share of 3 to 5 shakes in the last fifty years in that area.
If the Ohio and MS Rivers were already at flood stage when the TN River dams broke, Katie bar the door.