Cataloging the 1811-1812 New Madrid, central U.S., earthquake sequence

Seismological Research Letters



The three principal New Madrid, central U.S., mainshocks of 1811-1812 were followed by extensive aftershock sequences that included numerous felt events. Although no instrumental data are available for the sequence, historical accounts provide information that can be used to estimate magnitudes and locations for the large aftershocks as well as the mainshocks. Several detailed eyewitness accounts of the sequence provide sufficient information to identify times and rough magnitude estimates for a number of aftershocks that have not been analyzed previously. I also use three extended compilations of felt events to explore the overall sequence productivity. Although one generally cannot estimate magnitudes or locations for individual events, the intensity distributions of recent, instrumentally recorded earthquakes in the region provide a basis for estimation of the magnitude distribution of 1811-1812 aftershocks. The distribution is consistent with a b-value distribution. I estimate Mw 6-6.3 for the three largest identifiable aftershocks, apart from the so-called dawn aftershock on 16 December 1811.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Cataloging the 1811-1812 New Madrid, central U.S., earthquake sequence
Series title Seismological Research Letters
DOI 10.1785/gssrl.80.6.1045
Volume 80
Issue 6
Year Published 2009
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Seismological Research Letters
First page 1045
Last page 1053
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