posted on Jul, 21 2005 @ 04:00 PM
New scientific data confirms the possibility of a major earthquake occurring in the central U.S. region within 50 years. The assessment is based on
feedback from recently installed sensors, showing a greater amount of strain around the New Madrid Seismic Zone than was previously thought.
The last three earthquakes to strike this region took place around 1812 and measured 8.1, 8.0 and 7.8. These earthquakes caused major damage and
reportedly caused the Mississippi River to run backwards.
The findings contradict a study in the 1990s, based on less data, that concluded the ground was not shifting and that strain buildup was therefore
minimal. Since that controversial work, scientists have debated the prevailing view that more major earthquakes are likely.
"Our results confirm the current status of seismic hazard ... that says that the likelihood of another 1811-12 earthquake in the next 50 years is
between 7 and 10 percent," Ellis said in an e-mail interview.
The chances of a smaller but still devastating temblor are higher.
"Strong earthquakes in the New Madrid seismic zone are certain to occur in the future," states a fact sheet from the U.S. Geological Survey. "There is
a 9-in-10 chance of a magnitude 6 to 7 temblor occurring in the New Madrid Seismic Zone within the next 50 years."
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This is a bit disturbing news to those living in the central U.S. region. I live in this region and I can tell you houses built here are not made to
withstand a moderate earthquake, let alone a major one. Hopefully future data can pinpoint a more accurate time frame, as this could be a costly
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