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The Mind Boggling Power Of The New Madrid Fault - Just So People Can Truly Understand The Danger

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posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 12:29 AM
The New Madrid fault zone is capable of producing cataclysmic earthquakes. From many comments in this site about this subject it is obvious that many people in the US simply have no knowledge, nor understanding of just how incredibly powerful and devastating these quakes are. I will explain it here so that people can properly grasp it.

First, the New Madrid quakes are shallow and they are rolling quakes. Due to the geographic region that they occur in, they are not at all lessened in their epicenter region. In addition to this, the areas of North America to the east and west of the fault zone have virtually no hindrance for the quakes either. So the waves of the quakes travel practically unimpeded for thousands of miles. The fault zone can produce supershear earthquakes, which can greatly exceed the normal limitations of energy release for a particular fault. So that the New Madrid can produce mega quakes, despite not being located at a mega thrust location like say Chile or Indonesia.

It is just like tsunami waves traveling in the ocean after a huge quake hits. Only in this case it is over land. It is clear that many people simply do not understand what a mega New Madrid quake or more likely quakes would do. What you have to understand is that an 8.0 at the New Madrid is like a 9.5 in shaking intensity just about anywhere else in the world, at least. People seem to not understand this. An 8.0 quake on the San Andreas for example is much smaller. Much smaller. You would need a 9.5, if not more on the San Andreas to equal the shaking intensity felt of an 8.0 quake on the New Madrid. Even a 9.5 on the San Andreas would not be even close to being felt as far away as an 8.0 on the New Madrid.

Big 9+ mega thrust quakes like the ones that occur in places like Chile, Cascadia, Indonesia, Alaska are not much more powerful than an 8.0. It is just that they occur over a greater distance and they last longer. In the case of the New Madrid, the magnitude scale is almost meaningless. Because it is unlike any other fault zone and produces unique quakes. For example, total destruction quakes. This happened in 1812. Not even the 9.5 1960 Chilean quake was a total destruction quake. Meaning that on the Mercalli scale, the New Madrid produces the most powerful earthquakes known. So that people understand, the Mercalli scale is actually the scale for damage and destruction, not the Richter Scale. You could get a 9.6 maximum on the Richter Scale at a big mega thrust subduction zone. About as powerful as an 8.0 in intensity and occurring over about 600 miles of distance. This is even far stronger than the 2004 Indonesian quake. It still would not cause total destruction anywhere (12 on Mercalli) like a big New Madrid quake.

Let me explain.

The 1968 Illinois quake, which hit in the New Madrid fault zone, measured 5.4. It was felt by people in 23 states and as far away as Boston. The 1895 quake, which hit in the Tennessee region of the fault zone measured about 6.6 (est.) and it knocked down chimneys in Saint Louis and Alabama.

It has been estimated that a magnitude 6.5 New Madrid quake would feel like being at the epicenter of a 5.0 quake as far away as Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania. That is just from a 6.5 quake. If you get something really big, like the February 7, 1812 quake which was the last in the cluster sequence of mega quakes that occurred in Arkansas and Missouri in 1811-12, and which had an epicenter around the Missouri/Arkansas/Tennessee border, then you get something that is truly cataclysmic in nature.

That quake was felt by people in Canada, Mexico, and Alaska. It knocked books and dishes off shelves in Montreal. It knocked down chimneys in Chicago. It knocked down buildings in Saint Louis. In Boston church bells rang simultaneously for at least 5-6 minutes. People in Washington D.C. were awakened out of their beds and their houses shook for at least 5-6 minutes.

In the areas closer to the quake's center, the people that witnessed it thought the world was ending. As far away as Indiana people described it like something from the Book of Revelation. Near the Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee border region the damage was cataclysmic and total.

It opened up sand geysers that were 150 feet wide and shot debris thousands of feet into the air. It moved the ground permanently lower or higher in some places as much as 4-5 feet. Huge fissures (hundreds of feet) opened up in the ground. Trees were uprooted and launched into the air. The Mississippi River stopped flowing and then reversed its course in the opposite direction. Yes, it flowed backwards.

Islands were sunk and new islands were formed. A new large lake formed in a matter of minutes as millions of gallons of water flew into newly sunken land. In some places the ground rolled by as much as 30 feet with each successive roll of the earthquake. The sound of the earthquake was described as deafening by the people that experienced it and it was heard by people as far away as Saint Louis. Yes, people could actually hear the quake in Saint Louis.

Huge trees were ripped apart in the middle of their trunks. Trees that were hundreds of years old (that big) were snapped like twigs near the bases of their trunks and ejected into the air. In many places the ground liquefied and basically whole regions in the area became quick sand. It has been estimated that after shocks measuring as high as 6.5 were still being felt even 10 years later. One way to best measure the power of an earthquake is the duration of it. Generally, the longer the earthquake lasts, the stronger it is in shaking intensity and power. And of course the longer it lasts, the more energy it releases.

That quake is estimated to have been perhaps as much 2 minutes longer than the 1964 Alaska quake. Another way to measure the strength and power is the aftershocks. The 1964 Alaskan quake had its last 6.0 aftershock 11 days after the quake. Within 18 months the aftershocks were no longer noticeable. As already said, the 2-7-1812 New Madrid quake was having aftershocks even as high as 6.5 10 years later. This should allow people to understand how unbelievable these big New Madrid quakes are.

The 1960 9.5 Chilean quake, the 2004 9.3 Indonesian quake, and the 1964 9.2 Alaskan quake did not have nearly the devastating impact. Because quakes in the New Madrid region cause much more damage due to the factors described above. The February 7, 1812 New Madrid quake is considered to be the most powerful quake to strike North America since recorded history. Think about that. That includes the 9.2 Alaskan quake of 1964.

And the thing is.........bigger quakes than the ones that hit in 1811-12 have happened. The quake cluster that hit around the year 900 A.D. was much more powerful than the quakes of 1811-12. The quake cluster that hit around the year 1450 A.D. was also more powerful.

For example, the rock strata evidence indicates that the 1811-12 cluster quake sequence displaced about half an inch of hard rock in the limestone record. By comparison, the cluster event around 1450 A.D. displaced about an inch and the cluster event around 900 A.D. displaced about 14 inches. Which means that in the past there have been quakes in the region that even dwarfed the ones of 1811-12.

In addition to this, the New Madrid fault system also has a branch fault zone that runs off it and that could be triggered as well. Due to HAARP, the destabilizing of the Gulf of Mexico seafloor bed, and what could result. If you destabilize the sea floor in the gulf (BP oil spill) then totally collapse the sea floor (with a nuke), and then use HAARP to activate weak areas of the New Madrid and its branch line the Wabash Valley........

Then you can create a dreaded double mega quake. Because the New Madrid and Wabash Valley can be activated by the Caribbean plate being disturbed. The Wabash Valley could be set off by HAARP targeting its parent fault zone the New Madrid. Wabash Valley could produce a 7.5 in Illinois with the same variables as New Madrid. Meaning that a 7.5 there is much stronger than a 7.5 anywhere else.

If the US military were to set off a nuke now, at the BP oil cap, and then were to put HAARP into kill mode at New Madrid, we are talking about something that is biblical in nature. We are talking about something equivalent to a 10.2 earthquake if it happened in California, Chile, Alaska, Cascadia, Indonesia.....something that it seems very few people grasp.

We are talking about a quake cluster sequence that could destroy even the Great Lakes region and that could flood the entire center of the US and that could permanently split North America into two separate islands. Remember that in the 1811-12 quakes, the last quake (of 5 huge quakes in total) was the strongest.
edit on 3-2-2011 by Red Cloak because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 12:33 AM
I grew up in southern Indiana, and can recall from the time I was little my parents and relatives all discussing (or trying to scare us kids!) the New Madrid Fault. They told us it was overdue for a quake, and that it was a major fault line. Thank you for sharing this in depth look at the fault line I still live near enough to fear!

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 12:43 AM
i live in indiana so this is some crazy sh-t. i hope nothing like this happens anytime soon, or later.

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 01:44 AM
Thank you for spelling this out for people, it seems like some people really don't fully understand the threat.
This is very well written and very clear to understand even if it is terrifying to read.

I always read these threads since I grew up about 45 min. from New Madrid, MO and have been hearing the possibilities of this happening my whole life. I have been to Reelfoot Lake many times & have been to Columbus Belmont Park many times where you can see how the landscape was affected. Needless to say, this scares the crap out of me since my whole family & countless friends still live in the area. They would all most likely be wiped out immediately. The only reason there weren't a tremendous amount of casualties was that the area just wasn't very populated. The first hand accts. that I have read are truly terrifying.

A massive New Madrid quake would not just affect that area, it would affect this whole country as the Mississippi is a major part of the distribution of food to the East Coast, not to mention TVA which supplies almost all of the power to the whole Southeast.

I just hope that I never see the day....... I really can't imagine......

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 01:59 AM
Thanks for this post. Very informative and SCARY! One thing it made me recall that I would like to add.....

I have an older male friend who is a very intelligent business man. He met a woman back in the early 80's and fell in love with her for a short minute. Their romance was short-lived because he said he found out that she had killed people and it was a turn-off. Assassain-style, Blackwater-type stuff. Apparently she had been recruited right out of an Ivy League school. He said she knew all kinds of languages, high IQ, several sets of I.D., money hungry, extensively trained in weaponry...the whole bit--but she scared the crap out of him. She ended up being kind of a cold b*tch, the kind that would shoot down a whole family, kids included, for the right price. He said she just had that look in her eye like she didn't give a -Snip-

Anyway.... he said that during their short hook up that she would tell him all kinds of things during their lovers pillow talks. She said that the Presidents were just puppets essentially etc. etc. And the one thing he told me she said that makes so much sense now.... she told him the government/military have the ability to CAUSE EARTHQUAKES. And remember she said this in 1982. We all like to think it's just HAARP technology from the air. But according to what he said, she said it has something to do with "tapping down into the water line."

We talked quite a bit about her but thats all I can remember about the earthquake part.
edit on Thu, 03 Feb 2011 22:33:32 -0600 by MemoryShock because: Mod Edit: Profanity/Circumvention Of Censors – Please Review This Link.

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posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 01:59 AM
I was with you all the way up until here:

Due to HAARP, the destabilizing of the Gulf of Mexico seafloor bed, and what could result. If you destabilize the sea floor in the gulf (BP oil spill) then totally collapse the sea floor (with a nuke), and then use HAARP to activate weak areas of the New Madrid and its branch line the Wabash Valley........

Then after reading that I question the credibility of everything you wrote in this thread.


posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 02:59 AM
Why have you not cited sources for the historical information, OP? It may be nitpicking, but I (personally) prefer anything being touted as truth, even regarding something as well known as New Madrid, to be flanked by sources. It lends credibility to the author...

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 03:44 AM
reply to post by Nyiah

dont be an @$$. do you really think he would lie about the past earthquakes? and if you really wanna know about it that bad..dont be lazy...look it up yourself.

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 03:55 AM
reply to post by Nyiah

Not sure if this is what you would like to see but here are a few sites that appear to have accurate (as much as possible I guess) historical accounts of the events:


this one is just newspaper articles or short accounts from all over the country

http:// - USGS - more accounts - if you look to the top right hand of the page there is a link to photographs of the area

http:// - very interesting read

I hope I did the links right. For some reason, they don't always work for me.

Edit: As I thought, links didn't work. I am just going to list them & maybe someone can fix them or just cut & paste if you are interested:



edit on 3-2-2011 by GATruthseeker because: couldn't get links to work

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 04:44 AM
reply to post by Red Cloak

Your post makes a lot of sense to me. In the thread below, it says FEMA wanted supplies "in support of disaster relief efforts based on a catastrophic disaster event within the New Madrid Fault System".

I wondered why they were referring to this particular fault and not just earthquakes in general.

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 09:08 AM
Are there really posters trying to debunk the New Madrid Fault??

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 09:44 AM
Just when I thought I was out of harms way...

Thank you sir, LOL.

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 10:05 AM
reply to post by hotbakedtater

That's what I was wondering too..I live here and the EQ we had in april 08 was a 5.3 and it was felt in 26 states and the lower part of canada....Now when SF has an EQ people in LA don't feel the new madrid is nothing to mess around with!

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 10:21 AM
reply to post by hotbakedtater

I think trying to debunk HAARP.

I live in Kentuckian (the Louisville Metro Area) and remember when I was in, 6th or 7th grade we had lots of quake warnings and drills because of the New Madrid. We had one quake in that time frame (this is 1984-85) and it was small but scared the snot out of us.

I hope this thing does not go off anytime soon!

Obs out

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 10:29 AM
Well done Op. I have lived in North West Tennessee all my life. People here are well aware of the potential destructive power of the New Madrid fault. We were even taught historical accounts in school. All one can do is prepare as well as you can. I just hope that all this interest doesn't become a self fulfilling prophecy.....I really worry about the southern end of the fault. Hot Springs Arkansas is on top of a geothermic rift,if that opens up could there be a new volcano develop ?

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 10:42 AM
I'm not discounting the severity of the New Madrid situation, but I have a question.

Does a temperature of 95 degrees F at the New Madrid Fault feel like 105 anywhere else?

You really lost me on "8.0 will feel like 9.5 anywhere else". This just makes no sense to me. The richter scale assigns a number to quantify the amount of siesmic energy released by a quake. Given how much more powerful a 9.5 is than an 8.0, it's simply impossible for one to "feel" like the other, regardless of circumstance.

Look, a 9.0 is ten times more powerful than an 8.0. A 9.5 is a little over three times as powerful as a 9.0.

So what you're saying is that an earthquake at the New Madrid is going to feel more than 30 times more powerful than a quake of the same magnitude anywhere else?

Again, I'm not trying to downplay the danger the New Madrid poses, I've lost family in an earthquake, so it's a big deal to me. It's just that that one particular statement goes a long way in sensationalizing the rest of your post.

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 10:51 AM
reply to post by Unit541

I believe that the OP was in reference to the New Madrid being such a shallow fault,that the magnitude would be felt as greater and surface damage would be greater.
edit on 3-2-2011 by daddyroo45 because: spelling

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 11:07 AM
Good thing I live in California, LOL. Seriously, out of all the quakes we have here, I only briefly felt two in the last 20 years (Tahoe and one about 10 years ago near Susanville). I was in SoCal (outside Magic Mountain) in April last year when a big one hit San Diego and I didn't feel that one, either.

I thought about moving out to Ohio to be near other family members, but screw that. I think I'll be safer near the San Andreas fault.
edit on 3-2-2011 by BishopLord because: typos

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 11:20 AM

Originally posted by hotbakedtater
I grew up in southern Indiana, and can recall from the time I was little my parents and relatives all discussing (or trying to scare us kids!) the New Madrid Fault. They told us it was overdue for a quake, and that it was a major fault line. Thank you for sharing this in depth look at the fault line I still live near enough to fear!
wow glad i live in england were i thawt i was safe but mother nature`s gettin tempremental latley

posted on Feb, 3 2011 @ 11:40 AM
reply to post by MindSpin

Well i guess you live up to your i am so sick of people that can be jerked around by whatever beliefs they have.

All credibility you may have had is now in question...the fact is the quakes can be very bad...and technology could influence it,, case closed.

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