The New Madrid Fault Zone, sometimes called the New Madrid Fault Line, is a major seismic zone and a prolific source of intraplate earthquakes (earthquakes within a tectonic plate) in the southern and midwestern United States, stretching to the southwest from New Madrid, Missouri. The New Madrid fault system was responsible for the 1811-12 New Madrid earthquakes and has the potential to produce large earthquakes in the future. Since 1812, frequent smaller earthquakes have been recorded in the area. Earthquakes that occur in the New Madrid Seismic Zone potentially threaten parts of eight American states: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Mississippi. Read more ...
Getting ready for the next 'big' quake in Missouri's New Madrid Seismic Zone PhysOrg - February 1, 2023
There are hundreds of minor earthquakes each year in Missouri's New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ), but most of them are too small for people living in the area to feel. While several major earthquakes - magnitude 7.0 or greater - occurred between 1811-1812 in the NMSZ, none have happened since then, creating a knowledge gap in earthquake preparedness among people now residing in that area of Missouri, according to researchers at the University of Missouri.
That lack of preparedness could exacerbate damages for those residents in the event of a large earthquake. We're overdue for another one, and models have predicted that if a large earthquake occurred now, it could be a catastrophic, multi-billion-dollar event for the region. Since we work in disaster planning and response, the issue of how states can help get people prepared often comes up.
Punctuated earthquakes for New Madrid area: New research uncovers cluster of past events PhysOrg - November 6, 2018
In 1811 and 1812, the region around New Madrid, Missouri, experienced a number of major earthquakes. The final and largest earthquake in this sequence occurred on the Reelfoot fault, and temporarily changed the course of the Mississippi River. These earthquakes are estimated to be just shy of magnitude 8.0 and devastated towns along the Mississippi River - soil liquefied, houses collapsed, and chimneys toppled. Because of the 1811-1812 earthquakes, the New Madrid area is recognized as a high-hazard zone for potential future seismic events. Previous investigations found have also found evidence for multiple, older earthquake events preserved in the geologic record.
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