Tuesday, January 24, 2012

[Geology2] Today Marks Bicentennial of Massive Earthquake

Today Marks Bicentennial of Massive Earthquake

Allison Blood, KMOX

earthquake Getty Images, Andy Ryan

ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOX) - We may not see many severe ones anymore, but earthquakes have been a big problem in Missouri's past. Monday marks the two hundred year anniversary of the final earthquake in a series that had a massive impact on Missouri's landscape. Geophysicist Oliver Boyd says these earthquakes, known as the New Madrid Earthquakes, were so powerful, it turned the ground into liquid. He says there were three earthquakes within a three-week period that would have registered as a 7 or 8 magnitude quake, with thousands of aftershocks between them. He says there was no measuring equipment at the time, but accounts from the event and looking at the land in the area, Boyd says it's easy to make an educated guess.

Boyd is a Geophysicist with the US Geological Survey. He says the chance of this happening in the next fifty years is less than one in ten. But as Earthquake Awareness Month begins in February, he says practice is the key to being prepared for an earthquake. In the event of an earthquake, people should duck under a sturdy surface like a desk, and cover the head and neck. Then, wait for the ground to stop shaking before going outside. Boyd says that modern buildings are built to withstand most earthquakes, but debris could fall from other structures. There are no warning signs that an earthquake  is coming, besides the tremors.

February 7th is the Great Central US ShakeOut earthquake preparedness exercise, held across the midwest to help remind people of what to do in case of an earthquake.

Find more information on Missouri's seismic history here.


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