Most Americans expect the next great earthquake in the United States to come on the west coast. But what if it strikes right down the middle of the country instead? The New Madrid fault zone is six times larger than the San Andreas fault zone in California and it covers portions of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Back in 1811 and 1812, a series of absolutely devastating earthquakes along the New Madrid fault zone opened very deep fissures in the ground, caused the Mississippi River to run backwards in some places, and were reportedly felt as far away as Washington D.C. and Boston. They were the strongest earthquakes ever recorded east of the Rocky Mountains, and scientists tell us that it is only a matter of time before we experience similar quakes. In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey has admitted that the New Madrid fault zone has the “potential for larger and more powerful quakes than previously thought“, and the number of significant earthquakes in the middle part of the country has more than quintupled in recent years. Someday, perhaps without any warning, an absolutely massive earthquake will strike the New Madrid fault. Thousands of Americans will die, tens of thousands of structures will be completely destroyed, and millions of people will find themselves homeless.
Unlike on the west coast, buildings within the New Madrid fault zone are typically not constructed to withstand major earthquakes. If we were to see the type of earthquake that we saw a little over two centuries ago, it would be a disaster, unlike anything that any of us has ever known. The following comes from WKRN, and it describes what those earthquakes back in 1811 and 1812 were like… (continue reading)