“Although we typically think of earthquakes as specific to certain regions such as California, we, in the Midwest, have one of the most active earthquake faults in the country – the New Madras fault. The following map shows earthquakes that have been recorded from that fault since 1974.”   (1812 New Madrid Earthquake)     (Reelfoot Lake Origin)

New Madrid Fault Activity

Mississippi River ran backwards from the estimated 8.0 New Madrid Quake?

“A series of three to five major earthquakes (magnitude 8 or larger earthquakes) occurred in the NMSZ in the two month period between Dec. 16, 1811 and February 7, 1812. Several thousand additional “smaller” earthquakes occurred during the three month period from Dec. 16, 1811 to March 16, 1812. These included 15 quakes of magnitude 6.5 to 8 (the size range of the 1989 San Francisco, 1994 Los Angeles and 1995 Kobe, Japan earthquakes) and 189 quakes of magnitude 5 to 6.5. Two thousand of these quakes were felt by people, indicated by crude seismograph instruments and recorded in personal journals at Louisville, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio, which are respectively 250 and 350 miles away. The New Madrid area was at the very frontier of European settlement at this time so there were very few non-native Americans living in the immediate area to report the earthquakes.

Due to the harder, colder, drier and less fractured nature of the rocks in the earth’s crust in the central United States, earthquakes in this region shake and damage an area approximately 20 times larger than earthquakes in California and most other active seismic areas. Even though large earthquakes occur much less frequently in the NMSZ than in California, the long term average quake threat, in terms of square miles affected per century, is about the same because of the approximately 20 times larger area affected in the central United States.”   Missouri Dept Nat Resource