The New Madrid seismic zone (NMSZ), which experienced severe liquefaction during the great New Madrid, Missouri, earthquakes of 1811 and 1812 as well as during several prehistoric earthquakes, is a superb laboratory for the study of world-class, arthquake-induced liquefaction features and their use in paleoseismology. In seismically active regions like the NMSZ, frequent large earthquakes can produce a complex record of liquefaction events that is difficult to interpret. Lessons learned studying liquefaction features in the NMSZ may help to unravel the paleoseismic record in other seismically active regions. Soil characteristics of liquefaction features, as well as their structural and sratigraphic relations to Native American occupation horizons and other cultural features, an help to distinguish prehistoric liquefaction features from historic features. In addition, analyses of artifact assemblages and botanical content of cultural horizons can help to narrow the age ranges of liquefaction features. Future research should focus on methods for defining source areas and estimating magnitudes of prehistoric earthquakes from liquefaction features. Also, new methods for dating liquefaction features are needed.
Additional publication details
Recognizing and dating prehistoric liquefaction features: Lessons learned in the New Madrid seismic zone, central United States