I am very familiar with the structures in Memphis, TN and St. Louis, MO. Both cities have their oldest buildings nearest the river, including a dilapidated bridge in the latter city. How would I rate their preparation for the big one in these two cities: 0. A big fat zero.
The structures-concrete multi-layered parking and masonry and brick buildings. The newer bridges have been retro-fitted for a moderate quake, but if an 8 pointer should occur, don't bet on any Memphians making a break for Arkansas or Missourians reaching Illinois.
Outlying areas near Memphis use chains on the overpasses up to 2 counties away, so keeping I40 open should be feasible, but the city itself is a Christchurch in the making. The death rate would be enormous for both cities and panic would clog the major routes out of each city. In Memphis, there is a good chance that if folks stayed off I40, they would make it out fairly well. There are many routes in order to disperse in all directions, except west (given the bridge should be compromised). St. Louis has the same set up. Stay off major interstates. Take the back roads. Get out of the city asap.
Worse case scenario for St. Louis is a Busch stadium would be full. It and the nearby parking garages would be toast. The river is so close, it's almost part of the structures, and the downtown area is immediately to the east. This placement would guarantee folks would have a time getting out, especially if the bridges were compromised.
I was in downtown Memphis in December and as I stood on Beale St., I took a good look around. Memphis is in such a perilous condition. Miocene sand goes straight down to the bedrock, but in order to reach the latter, you'll have to go about a few hundred miles. Liquefaction would be so bad that one could not even stand up, much less get the heck out of Dodge. Brick and masonry everywhere. Old historic buildings crowd downtown, as well as the new FedEx Forum, the Pyramid, and the Peabody. What's worse is the water table is very high.
My plans are to move, within the next few years, to Dyersburg, which is a mostly rural area near the Mississippi River. I will have access to many of the features created by the 1811-12 quakes, as the MS River bridge will be about 20 miles away. Yep. I want to move nearer the NMFZ. Crazy, but I want to investigate this area further, including the area where I spent the first 6 years of my life--the bootheel of Missouri. Also, I will be much nearer to Reelfoot Lake in TN and southern Illinois, where there are many geological features to explore.
Back to your question at hand, I have no doubt that if a large quake occurred that the two aforementioned cities would experience the worst in human nature, which is directly opposite of what occurred in Christchurch. Memphis and St. Louis have a rabid crime rate that would come to full term during a crisis. Where's Kurt Russell when you need him, eh?
On Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 12:42 AM, Victor Healey <email@example.com> wrote:
I wonder how many structures in the USA will fail catastrophically in the next big quake do to errors in construction that do not meet basic earthquake standards?Sometimes this can be due to criminal elements cutting corners to save money.
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