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Perspectives on earthquake hazards in the New Madrid seismic zone, Missouri

Earthquakes & Volcanoes (USGS)
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Abstract

A sequence of three great earthquakes struck the Central United States during the winter of 1811-1812 in the area of New Madrid, Missouri. they are considered to be the greatest earthquakes in the conterminous U.S because they were felt and caused damage at far greater distances than any other earthquakes in U.S history. The large population currently living within the damage area of these earthquakes means that widespread destruction and loss of life is likely if the sequence were repeated. In contrast to California, where the earthquakes are felt frequently, the damaging earthquakes that have occurred in the Easter U.S-in 155 (Cape Ann, Mass.), 1811-12 (New Madrid, Mo.), 1886 (Charleston S.C) ,and 1897 (Giles County, Va.- are generally regarded as only historical phenomena (fig. 1). The social memory of these earthquakes no longer exists. A fundamental problem in the Eastern U.S, therefore, is that the earthquake hazard is not generally considered today in land-use and civic planning. This article offers perspectives on the earthquake hazard of the New Madrid seismic zone through discussions of the geology of the Mississippi Embayment, the historical earthquakes that have occurred there, the earthquake risk, and the "tools" that geoscientists have to study the region. The so-called earthquake hazard is defined  by the characterization of the physical attributes of the geological structures that cause earthquakes, the estimation of the recurrence times of the earthquakes, the estimation of the recurrence times of the earthquakes, their potential size, and the expected ground motions. the term "earthquake risk," on the other hand, refers to aspects of the expected damage to manmade strctures and to lifelines as a result of the earthquake hazard.  

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Perspectives on earthquake hazards in the New Madrid seismic zone, Missouri
Series title Earthquakes & Volcanoes (USGS)
Volume 22
Issue 1
Year Published 1990
Language English
Publisher U.S Geological Survey
Description 18 p.
First page 4
Last page 21
Country United States
Other Geospatial New Madrid seismic zone
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N