“Reelfoot Lake is a by-product of the New Madrid Earthquakes.  A series of 1,874 recorded tremors centered generally about 70 miles southwest of the lake in Missouri took place from December 16, 1811 to March 8, 1812.  The “hard shock” came at 3 a.m., Friday, February 7, 1812, and could be felt over an area of one million square miles from Canada to the eastern seaboard to New Orleans.  Witnesses reported that the earth and river were torn with furious convulsions and created sunken lands, fissures, landslides and land domes.  It is said that, for a time, the Mississippi River flowed backwards filling in the newly-sunk area now know as Reelfoot Lake.”   Interesting Quake Info

This map shows areas damaged by the Dec. 16, 1811, magnitude 7.2 earthquake. That earthquake was the first of three major temblors along the New Madrid fault in 1811 and 1812. (Image courtesy of Seth Stein, based on results by Susan Hough)