Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Eastern Earthquake

Most people think the big quakes happen out west, particularly in California, but history says different.

The biggest quake ever experienced in the continental United States happened during the winter months of 1811. A quake estimated at measuring 8.6 on the Richter scale rumbled through an area 150 miles long and 50 miles wide from New Madrid, Missouri.

The quake was so powerful the ground sank 12 feet in some areas and for a short time it reversed the flow of the Mississippi River.

The tectonic shock wave rumbled all the way to Washington D.C. where bells rang in church steeples from the ground shaking and clocks were supposedly stopped in New Orleans.

150 years ago the country was relatively unpopulated and there was little damage and few injuries. If a quake, that large, were to happen today the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it could cause 50-billion dollars in damage and probably kill thousands of people.

The earthquake in the east experienced yesterday was tiny compared to the big one of 1811, but we should not be complacent and think the east is invulnerable.

The underground geology in the east, with its tight formations, would shake more violently in a big quake than those that occur in the west. Let us hope not, but also let us be prepared.

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