The Mississippi Valley earthquakes of 1811 and 1812

Earthquake Information Bulletin (USGS)


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Shortly after 2 o'clock on the morning of December 16, 1811, the Mississippi River valley was convulsed by an earthquake so severe that it awakened people in cities as distant as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Norfolk, Virginia. This shock inaugurated what must have been the most frightening sequence of earthquakes ever to occur in the United States. Intermittent strong shaking continued through March 1812 and aftershocks strong enough to be felt occurred through the year 1817. The initial earthquake of December 16 was followed by other principal shocks, one on January 23, 1812, and the other on February 7, 182. Judging from newspaper accounts of damage to buildings, the February 7 earthquake was the biggest of the three. 

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The Mississippi Valley earthquakes of 1811 and 1812
Series title Earthquake Information Bulletin (USGS)
Volume 6
Issue 2
Year Published 1974
Language English
Publisher U.S Geological Survey
Description 6 p.
First page 8
Last page 13
Country United States
Other Geospatial Mississippi Valley
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N