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Encyclopedia > New Madrid Seismic Zone
Seismic map of the New Madrid Seismic Zone.
Reelfoot Rift and the New Madrid Seismic Zone in a 3D topographic image
Reelfoot Rift and the New Madrid Seismic Zone in a 3D topographic image

The New Madrid Seismic Zone, also known as the Reelfoot Rift or the New Madrid Fault Line, is a major seismic zone in the Southern and Midwestern United States stretching to the southwest from New Madrid, Missouri. Seismic map New Madrid Seismic Zone from http://quake. ... Seismic map New Madrid Seismic Zone from http://quake. ... Image File history File links NMSZ_Erdbeben. ... Image File history File links NMSZ_Erdbeben. ... Seismology (from the Greek seismos = earthquake and logos = word) is the scientific study of earthquakes and the movement of waves through the Earth. ... Historic Southern United States. ... This article is about the Midwestern region in the United States. ... New Madrid is a city located in New Madrid County, Missouri, 42 miles (68 km) south by west of Cairo, Illinois, on the Mississippi River. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ...


The New Madrid fault system was responsible for the 1812 New Madrid Earthquake and has the potential to produce damaging earthquakes on an average of every 300 to 500 years. Since 1812 frequent smaller intraplate earthquakes (earthquakes within a tectonic plate) were recorded for the area.[1] For the overture by Tchaikovsky, see 1812 Overture; For the wars, see War of 1812 (USA - United Kingdom) or Patriotic War of 1812 (France - Russia) For the Siberia Airlines plane crashed over the Black Sea on October 4, 2001, see Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 1812 was a leap year starting... The New Madrid Earthquake, the largest earthquake ever recorded in the contiguous United States, occurred on February 7, 1812. ... This article is about the natural seismic phenomenon. ... Although the theory of plate tectonics well describes the mechanisms for interplate earthquakes (earthquakes at plate boundaries), there is the fact that very large intraplate earthquakes (earthquake within plates) can inflict heavy damage on towns and cities. ... The tectonic plates of the world were mapped in the second half of the 20th century. ...


The seismic zone covers parts of five U.S. states: Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee. For other uses, see United States (disambiguation) and US (disambiguation). ... Official language(s) English[1] Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Largest metro area Chicago Metropolitan Area Area  Ranked 25th  - Total 57,918 sq mi (140,998 km²)  - Width 210 miles (340 km)  - Length 390 miles (629 km)  - % water 4. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... Official language(s) English[1] Capital Frankfort Largest city Louisville Area  Ranked 37th  - Total 40,444 sq mi (104,749 km²)  - Width 140 miles (225 km)  - Length 379 miles (610 km)  - % water 1. ... This article is about the U.S. state of Tennessee. ...

Contents

Geology

750 million years ago

The New Madrid Seismic Zone is made up of reactivated faults that formed when North America began to split or rift apart during the breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia in the Neoproterozoic Era (about 750 million years ago). The resulting Midcontinent Rift System failed but remained as a scar or zone of weakness. The area was then flooded by an ancient ocean, depositing layers of sediment on the rift. Old fault exposed by roadcut near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. ... North American redirects here. ... In geology, a rift is a place where the Earths lithosphere is expanding. ... In geology, a supercontinent is a land mass comprising more than one continental core, or craton. ... In geology, Rodinia (from the Russian родина, or motherland) refers to one of the oldest known supercontinents, which contained most or all of Earths then-current landmass. ... The Neoproterozoic Era is the unit of geologic time from 1,000 to 542 +/- 0. ... A geologic era is a subdivision of geologic time that is a separate classification that divides the Phanerozoic Eon into three parts timeframes. ... Geological map of North America showing (in white) the Midcontinent Rift, here labeled Keweenawan Rift. ...


200 million years ago

Geological structure of Reelfoot Rift
Geological structure of Reelfoot Rift

During the Mesozoic Era (about 200 million years ago), as the Atlantic Ocean was opening in the east, rifting was once again re-activated and intrusive igneous rocks were emplaced. But again the rifting failed and the continent remained intact, although with a significant zone of weakness. Image File history File links Reelfoot_rift. ... Image File history File links Reelfoot_rift. ... Mesozoic Era is one of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic eon. ... A geologic era is a subdivision of geologic time that is a separate classification that divides the Phanerozoic Eon into three parts timeframes. ... Pluton redirects here. ... Igneous rocks are formed when molten rock (magma) cools and solidifies, with or without crystallization, either below the surface as intrusive (plutonic) rocks or on the surface as extrusive (volcanic) rocks. ...


This rift is known as the Reelfoot Rift and coincides with the northernmost portion of the Mississippi embayment. This article may be too technical for most readers to understand. ...


Most of the seismicity is located from 3 to 15 mi (5 to 25 km) beneath the Earth's surface. Seismology (from the Greek seismos = earthquake and logos = word) is the scientific study of earthquakes and the movement of waves through the Earth. ... “Miles” redirects here. ... “km” redirects here. ...


Modern seismic activity

Since the 1970s, thousands of earthquakes have been recorded in the New Madrid seismic zone.


Seismic monitoring

large map of earthquakes since 1974
large map of earthquakes since 1974

Instruments were installed in and around the area in 1974 to closely monitor seismic activity. Since then, more than 4,000 earthquakes have been recorded, most of which are too small to be felt. On average, one earthquake per year is large enough to be felt in the area. Image File history File links Landkarte_New_Madrid_Erdbeben. ... Image File history File links Landkarte_New_Madrid_Erdbeben. ...


Epicenter locations

More than 4000 earthquake reports since 1974

The red zones on the map indicate the epicenter locations of hundreds of minor earthquakes recorded since the 1970s. Two trends are apparent. First is the general northeast-southwest trend paralleling the trend of the Reelfoot Rift. Earthquakes recorded in the New Madrid seismic zone since 1974. ... Earthquakes recorded in the New Madrid seismic zone since 1974. ... For other uses, see Epicenter (disambiguation). ... This article is about the natural seismic phenomenon. ...


The second is the intense cross trend (northwest to southeast) that occurs just southwest of New Madrid. This second trend coincides with an intrusive igneous body which lies deeply buried beneath the sediments of the rift zone. Several other bodies of deeply buried intrusive rock are known to exist within the seismic zone. The depths of these igneous rock bodies closely corresponds to the depth of the seismic activity. The most recent felt earthquake along the fault was April 18, 2008, with a Richter scale rating of 5.2. It was felt from Wisconsin to Memphis. Igneous rocks (etymology from Latin ignis, fire) are rocks formed by solidification of cooled magma (molten rock), with or without crystallization, either below the surface as intrusive (plutonic) rocks or on the surface as extrusive (volcanic) rocks. ...


Geographic distribution

The 150 mi (240 km) long fault system, which extends into five states, stretches southward from Cairo, Illinois, through Hayti, Missouri, Caruthersville and New Madrid, through Blytheville, Arkansas, to Marked Tree. It also covers a part of west Tennessee, near Reelfoot Lake, extending southeast into Dyersburg. Extreme western Kentucky, notably the Kentucky Bend also overlies the zone. “Miles” redirects here. ... “km” redirects here. ... Cairo is a city in Alexander County, Illinois in the United States. ... Official language(s) English[1] Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Largest metro area Chicago Metropolitan Area Area  Ranked 25th  - Total 57,918 sq mi (140,998 km²)  - Width 210 miles (340 km)  - Length 390 miles (629 km)  - % water 4. ... Hayti (pronounced Hay-Tie) is a city located in Pemiscot County, Missouri. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... Caruthersville is a city located in Pemiscot County, Missouri. ... New Madrid is a city located in New Madrid County, Missouri, 42 miles (68 km) south by west of Cairo, Illinois, on the Mississippi River. ... Blytheville is a city located in Mississippi County, Arkansas. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... Marked Tree is a city located in Poinsett County, Arkansas. ... This article is about the U.S. state of Tennessee. ... Reelfoot Lake is a shallow natural lake located in the extreme northwest portion of Tennessee, United States of America, just south of the Kentucky line. ... Location within the U.S. State of Tennessee Coordinates: Cities in Tennessee Tennessee Mayor John Holden Area    - City 39. ... The Kentucky Bend, variously called the New Madrid Bend, Madrid Bend, Bessie Bend or Bubbleland is an exclave of Fulton County, Kentucky, in the United States. ...


History

The zone had four of the largest North American earthquakes in recorded history, with magnitudes estimated to be greater than 7.0 on the Richter scale, all occurring within a 3 month period between 1811 and 1812. Many of the published accounts describe the cumulative effects of all the earthquakes (known as the New Madrid Sequence); thus finding the individual effects of each quake can be difficult. North American redirects here. ... The Richter magnitude scale, or more correctly local magnitude ML scale, assigns a single number to quantify the amount of seismic energy released by an earthquake. ... For the US Federal Agent designation, see Special agent. ... For the overture by Tchaikovsky, see 1812 Overture; For the wars, see War of 1812 (USA - United Kingdom) or Patriotic War of 1812 (France - Russia) For the Siberia Airlines plane crashed over the Black Sea on October 4, 2001, see Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 1812 was a leap year starting...


1811/1812 earthquake series

View to the southwest along the former riverbed of the Mississippi River, just south of the Tennessee/Arkansas state line near Reverie, Tennessee and Wilson, Arkansas (2007)
  • December 16, 1811, 0815 UTC (2:15 a.m.); 7.7 magnitude; epicenter in northeast Arkansas; Mercalli XI. It caused only slight damage to man-made structures, mainly because of the sparse population in the epicentral area. However, landslides and geological changes occurred along the Mississippi River, and large localized waves were caused by fissures opening and closing below the Earth's surface.
  • December 16, 1811, 1415 UTC (8:15 a.m.); 7.0 magnitude; epicenter in northeast Arkansas; Mercalli X-XI. This shock followed the first earthquake by six hours.
  • January 23, 1812, 1500 UTC (9 a.m.); 7.6 magnitude; epicenter in the Missouri Bootheel. The meizoseismal area was characterized by general ground warping, ejections, fissuring, severe landslides, and caving of stream banks.
  • February 7, 1812 (the New Madrid Earthquake), 0945 UTC (4:45 a.m.); 7.9 magnitude; epicenter near New Madrid, Missouri. New Madrid was destroyed. At St. Louis, Missouri, many houses were damaged severely, and their chimneys were thrown down. The meizoseismal area was characterized by general ground warping, ejections, fissuring, severe landslides, and caving of stream banks.

Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... For the river in Canada, see Mississippi River (Ontario). ... This article is about the U.S. state of Tennessee. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... View to the Southwest along the former riverbed of the Mississippi River, just South of the Tennessee/Arkansas state line near Reverie, TN (2007) Reverie, Tennessee is a town in Tipton County, Tennessee, United States. ... Wilson is a town in Mississippi County, Arkansas, United States. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 350th day of the year (351st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the US Federal Agent designation, see Special agent. ... The moment magnitude scale was introduced in 1979 by Tom Hanks and Hiroo Kanamori as a successor to the Richter scale and is used by seismologists to compare the energy released by earthquakes. ... The Mercalli intensity scale is a scale used for measuring the intensity of an earthquake. ... This article is about geological phenomenon. ... is the 350th day of the year (351st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the US Federal Agent designation, see Special agent. ... is the 23rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the overture by Tchaikovsky, see 1812 Overture; For the wars, see War of 1812 (USA - United Kingdom) or Patriotic War of 1812 (France - Russia) For the Siberia Airlines plane crashed over the Black Sea on October 4, 2001, see Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 1812 was a leap year starting... This article is about the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Missouri; the term Bootheel is also used to refer to the southwestern part of Hidalgo County, New Mexico. ... is the 38th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the overture by Tchaikovsky, see 1812 Overture; For the wars, see War of 1812 (USA - United Kingdom) or Patriotic War of 1812 (France - Russia) For the Siberia Airlines plane crashed over the Black Sea on October 4, 2001, see Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 1812 was a leap year starting... The New Madrid Earthquake, the largest earthquake ever recorded in the contiguous United States, occurred on February 7, 1812. ... Nickname: Location in the state of Missouri Coordinates: , Country State County Independent City Government  - Mayor Francis G. Slay (D) Area  - City  66. ...

Geologic effects

Large areas sank into the earth, fissures opened, lakes permanently drained, new lakes were formed, and forests were destroyed over an area of 150,000 acres (600 km²). Many houses at New Madrid were thrown down. "Houses, gardens, and fields were swallowed up" one source notes. But fatalities and damage were low, because the area was sparsely settled.[2] This article is about the unit of measurement. ... Square kilometre (US spelling: Square kilometer), symbol km², is an SI unit of surface area. ...


The earthquakes were felt as far away as New York City and Boston, Massachusetts, where churchbells rang.[3] New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... Boston redirects here. ...


Mississippi River course changes
View to the northeast along the former riverbed of the Mississippi River

This series of temblors caused permanent changes in the course of the Mississippi River, which appeared to flow backward.[4] Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... For the river in Canada, see Mississippi River (Ontario). ...


Because of the change in the course of the Mississippi River, land was cut off from counties by the river and wound up on the other side of the new riverbed, on the other side of the Mississippi. The settlement of Reverie, Tennessee, in Tipton County was cut off and placed on the western bank of the Mississippi River on the Arkansas side.[5] View to the Southwest along the former riverbed of the Mississippi River, just South of the Tennessee/Arkansas state line near Reverie, TN (2007) Reverie, Tennessee is a town in Tipton County, Tennessee, United States. ... Tipton County is a county located in the state of Tennessee. ...


Along the Tennessee/Arkansas state line, geological features are still present almost 200 years after the events, showing the former course of the Mississippi River as it was before the 1811/1812 earthquakes. This article is about the U.S. state of Tennessee. ... This article is about the U.S. State. ... For the US Federal Agent designation, see Special agent. ... For the overture by Tchaikovsky, see 1812 Overture; For the wars, see War of 1812 (USA - United Kingdom) or Patriotic War of 1812 (France - Russia) For the Siberia Airlines plane crashed over the Black Sea on October 4, 2001, see Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 1812 was a leap year starting...


Focal depth of the earthquakes

From what is known about the present seismicity of the area, it can be inferred that their focal depths were probably between 3 to 12 mi (5-20 km). The fault plane—or planes—on which the Earth rupture occurred are inferred to have had a north-northeast to south-southwest strike direction, more or less parallel to the Mississippi River. “Miles” redirects here. ... “km” redirects here. ...


Aftershocks

Contemporary woodcut of the effects of the New Madrid earthquakes
Contemporary woodcut of the effects of the New Madrid earthquakes

Hundreds of aftershocks followed over a period of several years. Aftershocks strong enough to be felt occurred until the year 1817. The largest earthquakes to have occurred since then were on January 4, 1843, and October 31, 1895, with magnitude estimates of 6.0 and 6.2 respectively. In addition to these events, nine events of magnitude ≥ 5.0 have occurred in the area. The most recent event occurred on April 18th, 2008. A 5.2 magnitude earthquake shook the region, with the epicenter located 7km outside of Bellmont Illinois. Aftershocks were reported several hours later, registering between 2.6 and 4.5 on the Richter scale. Image File history File links New_Madrid_Erdbeben. ... Image File history File links New_Madrid_Erdbeben. ... Aftershocks are earthquakes in the same region of the mainshock (generally within a few rupture length) but of smaller magnitude and which occur with a pattern that follows Omoris law. ... is the 4th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1843 (MDCCCXLIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a common year starting on Friday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... is the 304th day of the year (305th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1895 (MDCCCXCV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ...


Commemorating the earthquakes

From the early years of the 19th century until well after the American Civil War, the citizens of Union City, Tennessee, would gather every February 7 for an all-night "vigil and fish fry" on the site currently occupied by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, praying, singing and beseeching the Almighty to "spare the land over" for another year. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... Union City is a city in Obion County, Tennessee, United States. ... This article is about the U.S. state of Tennessee. ... is the 38th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Presbyterianism is a family of Christian denominations within the Reformed branch of Protestant Western Christianity. ... For the architectural structure, see Church (building). ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ...


More quakes predicted

Comparison: the 1895 Charleston, Missouri, earthquake in the New Madrid seismic zone with the 1994 Northridge, California, earthquake. Red indicates area of structural damage, yellow indicates area where shaking was felt.

The potential for the recurrence of large earthquakes and their impact today on densely populated cities in and around the seismic zone has generated much research devoted to understanding earthquakes. Establishing the probability for an earthquake of a given magnitude is an inexact science. By studying evidence of past quakes and closely monitoring ground motion and current earthquake activity, scientists attempt to understand their causes, recurrence rates, ground motion and disaster mitigation. Comparison: the 1895 Charleston, Missouri, earthquake in the New Madrid seismic zone with the 1994 Northridge, California, earthquake. ... Comparison: the 1895 Charleston, Missouri, earthquake in the New Madrid seismic zone with the 1994 Northridge, California, earthquake. ... The Northridge earthquake occurred on January 17, 1994 at 4:31 AM Pacific Standard Time in Reseda, a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles, California. ...


Probability of future earthquakes

The probability of magnitude 6.0 or greater in the near future is considered significant; a 90% chance of such an earthquake by 2040 has been given. In the June 23, 2005, issue of the journal Nature, the odds of another 8.0 event within 50 years were estimated to be between 7 and 10 percent.[6] is the 174th day of the year (175th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Nature is a prominent scientific journal, first published on 4 November 1869. ...


Because of the unconsolidated sediments which are a major part of the underlying geology of the Mississippi embayment, as well as the river sediments along the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys to the north and east (note the red fingers extending up these valleys in the image above), large quakes have the potential for more widespread damage than major quakes on the west coast. Additionally, the area affected will be larger since beyond the rift zone itself there are few other faults to attenuate the seismic waves. This article or section cites very few or no references or sources. ... This article may be too technical for most readers to understand. ... For the river in Canada, see Mississippi River (Ontario). ... View of Pittsburgh, the largest metropolitan area on the Ohio River, where the Allegheny River (left) and the Monongahela River (right) join at Point State Park to form the Ohio River Cincinnati, Ohio is a well known city along the Ohio River, historically known for its riverboats. ...


Media coverage

The consequences of an earthquake in this region have been featured on television shows specializing in natural disasters. An eruption from the seismic zone and its potential consequences was the subject of an episode of the History Channel show Mega Disasters. The potential danger to Memphis, Tennessee, from another mega New Madrid earthquake was featured on The Weather Channel's It Could Happen Tomorrow. The History Channel is a cable television channel, dedicated to the presentation of historical events and persons, often with frequent observations and explanations by noted historians as well as reenactors and witnesses to events, if possible. ... Mega Disasters is a History Channel series about massive natural disasters that have occurred in the past and how we are vulnerable to similar disasters in the future. ... For other uses, see Memphis (disambiguation). ... The Weather Channel (TWC) is a cable and satellite television network that broadcasts weather and weather-related news 24 hours a day. ... It Could Happen Tomorrow is a television series that premiered on January 15, 2006 on The Weather Channel. ...


Walter Jon Williams novel The Rift depicts what would happen were a New Madrid Fault earthquake the size of the 1812 quake to happen today. Walter Jon Williams (born 15 October 1953) is an American writer, primarily of science fiction. ...


See also

The New Madrid Earthquake, the largest earthquake ever recorded in the contiguous United States, occurred on February 7, 1812. ... Emergency operations or Emergency preparedness is a set of doctrines to prepare civil society to cope with natural or man-made disasters. ... This article is in need of attention. ...

References

  1. ^ http://www.ceri.memphis.edu/ Center for Earthquake Research and Information at the University of Memphis.
  2. ^ Fuller, Myron (Contributor David Stewart) (1993). The New Madrid Earthquake. Care Publications. ISBN 0-93442-649-X. 
  3. ^ http://quake.wr.usgs.gov/prepare/factsheets/NewMadrid/ United States Geological Survey USGS
  4. ^ http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/states/events/1811-1812.php#december_16 United States Geological Survey USGS
  5. ^ http://www.tnhistoryforkids.org/local/tipton TNHistoryForKids.org
  6. ^ http://www.livescience.com/forcesofnature/050622_new_madrid.html LiveScience.com

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External links



  Results from FactBites:
 
New Madrid Seismic Zone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1280 words)
The New Madrid fault system was responsible for the 1812 New Madrid Earthquake and has the potential to produce damaging earthquakes on an average of every 300 to 500 years.
Earthquake of February 7, 1812 (the New Madrid Earthquake), 0945 UTC (4:45 a.m.); 7.9 magnitude; epicenter near New Madrid, Missouri.
Comparison: the 1895 Charleston, Missouri, earthquake in the New Madrid seismic zone with the 1994 Northridge, California, earthquake.
Article about "New Madrid fault zone" in the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004 (672 words)
The zone is named after the town of New_Madrid, Missouri, the site of three of the most severe North American earthquakes in recorded history.
The New Madrid fault zone lies within the central Mississippi River valley, extending from northeast Arkansas, through southeast Missouri, western Tennessee, western Kentucky to southern Illinois.
The largest New Madrid seismic zone earthquakes to have occurred since then were on January 4, 1843 and October 31, 1895, with magnitude estimates of 6.0 and 6.2 respectively.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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