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One interesting theory is that the "oil volcano" unleashed by the BP oil spill in 2010 may have sparked renewed seismic activity in that part of the world.
Jack M. Reed, a retired Texaco geologist-geophysicist, has been carefully studying the geology of the Gulf of Mexico for over 40 years. Reed is convinced that the Gulf of Mexico is currently tectonically active, and that the Gulf of Mexico is the source for most seismic activity along the New Madrid fault.
According to Reed, there is substantial evidence that the New Madrid fault zone is directly connected to "deeply buried tectonics" in the Gulf of Mexico....