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THE HIGHEST EARTHQUAKE RISK in the UNITED STATES outside the West Coast is along the New Madrid Fault. Damaging tremors are not as frequent as in California, but when they occur, the destruction covers over more than 20 times the area because of underlying geology.
A DAMAGING EARTHQUAKE in this AREA, 6.0 or greater, occur about every 80 years (the last one in 1895). The results would cause serious damage to schools and masonry buildings from Memphis to St Louis.
The New Madrid Earthquake, the largest earthquake ever recorded in the contiguous United States, occurred on February 7, 1812. This earthquake was preceded by three other major quakes: two on December 16, 1811, and one on January 23, 1812. These earthquakes destroyed approximately half the town of New Madrid. There were also numerous aftershocks in the area for the rest of that winter. There are estimates that the earthquakes were felt strongly over 50,000 square miles (130,000 km²), and moderately across nearly one million square miles. The historic San Francisco earthquake of 1906, by comparison, was felt moderately over 6,000 square miles (16,000 km²).
The flooding implications of earthquakes can result from a variety of secondary effects, including tsunamies, seiches, the courses of rivers and streams being altered, groundwater being discharged out of its reservoirs, shorelines falling due to fracturing, and the failure of dams during seismic stress. Anecdotal observations in the Gölcük-İzmit area include those of a seiche at least seven meters in height being experienced immediately after the earthquake (McGrory, 1999). The Gölcük shoreline demonstrated extensive displacement and flooding. In fact, during October, 1999, the city's waterfront continued to remain submerged under meters of water.