Division of Geology and Land Survey
Earthquake Awareness Month observed in February
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Magnitude 3.7 earthquake in the Bootheel Tuesday, March 2, 2010 -- The magnitude 3.7 earthquake in southeast Missouri serves as a reminder that the region is in the most geologically active zone east of the Rocky Mountains. The earthquake, recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey at 1:37 p.m., occurred 15 miles east-southeast of Sikeston. The quake was felt as far north as Alton, Ill., and St. Peters, Mo. ...more
- Register to attend -- Disaster Medicine 201: Post-Earthquake Medical Challenges in the New Madrid Seismic Zone Seminar, to be held March 18-19 at the Best Western Shalimar Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Festus.
Missourians experience small earthquakes weekly. This is especially true in southeast Missouri and to mark earthquake awareness month in Missouri, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), the Missouri Seismic Safety Commission and others are partnering during the month of February to provide critical information to Missourians about earthquakes in the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ).
Missourians attend several of the following public events in February.
- Friday, Feb. 5: “Earthquakes: Mean Business” Seminar at St. Louis University, 8:30 a.m. This free seminar is a public outreach offering of the regional geoscience, engineering, and emergency management community. It is an effort to showcase the issue of earthquake hazards and earthquake risk in the central United States and how we can be better prepared in the event of a damaging earthquake. This seminar is appropriate for anyone interested in earthquakes, earthquake risk and mitigation, emergency management, business continuity, or citizen preparedness.
- Saturday, Feb. 6: Earthquake Awareness Event at St. Louis Science Center. Our geologists and a range of participants will cover topics from fault zone and earthquake hazard mapping to how to secure household appliances. Sponsored by the St. Louis Section of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists, 5050 Oakland Avenue (on the upper level, near the dinosaur exhibit), St. Louis, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Thursday, Feb. 11: "Get Your Home Ready for Earthquakes" seminar, First Baptist Church, 300 St. Francis Street, Kennett, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
- Monday, Feb. 15: "Get Your Home Ready for Earthquakes" seminar, AARP Building, Hwy 34, Piedmont, 1-3 p.m.
- Saturday, Feb. 20: The Earth Moves Under our Feet -- "Hidden Fury: The New Madrid Seismic Zone” video and discussion with division geologist at Onondaga Cave State Park, Leasburg, 10:30 a.m.
Additionally, the department hosted school students to enlighten and educate about earthquakes in Missouri. The department participates in Earthquake Awareness Month activities yearly.
Geologists with the department's Division of Geology and Land Survey evaluate geologic hazards related to seismic activity and provide post-earthquake geologic support to SEMA, the Central United States Earthquake Consortium and the U.S. Geological Survey and others, to aid in emergency response efforts.
Joe Gillman, director of the department's Division of Geology and Land Survey and state geologist said, “Damages associated with earthquakes can be evaluated, but only after data collection and detailed mapping have been completed. Such data collection in support of the state’s geologic hazards mapping projects is ongoing by geologists in our Rolla office. Geological evidence indicates large earthquakes, like those of 1811-1812, are rare. However, more frequent, moderate size earthquakes can be catastrophic. Our geologists are actively conducting hazards mapping projects to better understand impacts from seismic events such as ground collapse, soils liquefaction, landslides and flooding.”
During Earthquake Awareness Month, the department participated in a number of other public activities by providing scientific data about the New Madrid Seismic Zone, mapping for risk assessment, potential earthquake risk for citizens, as well as providing geologic information about the basics of earthquakes.
The NMSZ, in Missouri's Bootheel region, is the nation's most active seismic zone east of the Rocky Mountains. More than 200 small earthquakes occur in the zone each year. In 1811 and 1812, the NMSZ produced a series of earthquakes estimated at magnitude 7.0 or greater. One of the largest earthquakes in history was centered in the town of New Madrid on Feb. 7, 1812. Scientists believe it would have registered greater than magnitude 7.5. Nearly 200 years of population growth in the region, which includes metropolitan areas such as St. Louis and Memphis, means that a repeat of the 1812 earthquake could cause considerably more damage.