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Sunday Poll: Think An Earthquake Will Strike St. Louis During Your Lifetime?

December 16, 2018 Featured, Sunday Poll No Comments
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Last week two earthquakes, 4.4 & 3.3, hit Eastern Tennessee (source).  You’re probably wondering when Eastern Tennessee has to do with St. Louis Missouri, right? Nothing, directly.  It seems they’re in a dangerous fault zone.

The only other regions east of the Rockies with that much hazard potential are in the South Carolina Seismic Zone (limited to South Carolina’s central coastal area) and the New Madrid Seismic Zone (which includes much of West Tennessee as well as smaller areas of Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky and Illinois). (Knoxville News Sentinel)

Oh right, so are we.  Yeah, but were’s not California, Washington, or Alaska.

In contrast to California, however, the consequences here could be more far-reaching because faults in the Mississippi Valley are buried under sedimentary deposits up to a mile deep. These conditions allow seismic waves to travel as much as 20 times farther than they do in California. As a result, a moderate New Madrid quake would shake a seven-state region — Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Indiana — like a bowl of jelly. (Riverfront Times)

Our neighbors in Louisville KY are taking notice:

In 2008, the U.S. government announced that an earthquake on the New Madrid Seismic Zone could cause “widespread and catastrophic” damage in the area and “the highest economic losses due to a natural disaster in the United States,” according to Reuters.

“The big thing we prepare for is with New Madrid,” Bobel said. “Depending on the significance of an earthquake, Memphis, Tennesee, would be gone, St. Louis would be wrecked.” (Louisville Courier-Journal)

Of course, nearly every article mentions the big earthquakes that happened over two centuries ago:

The 1811–12 New Madrid earthquakes were an intense intraplate earthquake series beginning with an initial earthquake of moment magnitude 7.5–7.9 on December 16, 1811, followed by a moment magnitude 7.4 aftershock on the same day. They remain the most powerful earthquakes to hit the contiguous United States east of the Rocky Mountains in recorded history. They, as well as the seismic zone of their occurrence, were named for the Mississippi River town of New Madrid, then part of the Louisiana Territory, now within the US state of Missouri. (Wikipedia)

While none of us can accurately predict when, or if, an earthquake will occur I thought this would be a timely topic for a non-scientific Sunday Poll:

There’s no right or wrong answer to today’s poll.  As usual, this poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

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