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A Tale of two quakes. 1895 and 1994.

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posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 12:06 AM
Among the different things I've collected over the years are Quake simulation and projection maps. Particularly ones for the Midwestern United States, since I happen to live here. I happen to be looking at some of them for another reason tonight and got to really thinking about this one.

I didn't produce the graphic (I'd picked it up from a State site during a college project) and a correction is important. The Midwest Quake was not 6 but 6.8. 1994 was, of course, the Northridge quake.

Many people have heard quite a bit about the new Madrid Quake series of 1811/1812. However, the second one on the map above is the 1895 Halloween Quake which was centered in Charleston, Missouri. It was quite a shaker, to say the least. It's surprising that more mention isn't made of it, given how widely felt it was.

There is more, but first I have a more technical look at what the two quakes felt like.

Northridge - 1994 (USGS)

Charleston, Missouri - 1895 (Halloween Quake) (USGS)

The scales at the bottom of the shakemaps are known as the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale.

For those unfamiliar with it, the following chart comes courtesy of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. I've made a thumb of it because it's a large graphic showing a lot of information. In a nutshell though, it shows the relation between traditional Richter Scale readings and the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale. The Intensity Scale is a more accurate depiction of the impact and felt effects of the quake as opposed to measuring straight energy released during the event.

Northridge, as many of us know, was a local / regional event. It also claimed 72 lives and over 9,000 injuries so it's not in human impact I compare the two. The Halloween Quake did not have the same loss of life associated with it. Population density across time periods has a great deal to do with that as well, in my opinion.

To quote Cal-Tech on the nature of the Northridge quake,

The earthquake caused very large ground motions with peak accelerations of 0.5 to 1.0 g in the Northridge area, decreasing to 0.1 g at distances of about 50 kilometers (31 miles). (A "g" of acceleration is equivalent to the acceleration of gravity. There were a few sites near the Northridge earthquake that recorded over 1 g of vertical acceleration. These ground movements would have been capable of throwing objects of any size into the air.)

The pattern of damage and strong ground shaking was irregular, with severe damage in places like Sherman Oaks and Santa Monica. These effects were caused by the complexity of the earthquake source and the wave propagation through complicated geology.

USGS had this to say about the 1895 Quake.

This is the largest earthquake to occur in the central Mississippi River valley since the 1811-1812 series in the area of New Madrid, Missouri. Structural damage and liquefaction phenomena were reported along a line from Bertrand, Missouri, in the west to Cairo, Illinois, in the east. Many sand blows were observed in an area southwest of Charleston, Missouri, and south of Bertrand, Missouri. Isolated occurrences of sand blows also were reported north and south of Charleston.

The most severe damage occurred in Charleston, Puxico, and Taylor, Missouri; Alton, and Cairo, Illinois; Princeton, Indiana; and Paducah, Kentucky. The earthquake caused extensive damage (including downed chimneys, cracked walls, shattered windows, and broken plaster) to school buildings, churches, private houses, and to almost all the buildings in the commercial section of Charleston.

I have to say though. None of this is what really got my attention the most for thinking this all might be something worth sharing with everyone. These quotes from an Illinois State Geological Survey Fact Sheet and are what really grabbed my attention. These are about the 1895 quake. Recall, just a 6.8. These days, that wouldn't sound like that much in global context. Larger are certainly not uncommon.

Reports from other cities:

Memphis, Tennessee, suffered no damage, except that two chimneys in the suburbs were shaken down.

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a slight earthquake shock was felt in the suburbs of Bellevue and McKeesport.

Every building in Indianapolis was shaken. Thousands of people were awakened.

The earthquake rattled windows in Kansas City, Missouri.

Electric lights flickered at the Union depot. Chimneys were damaged and plaster walls cracked in Grayville and Albion, Illinois; Princeton, Indiana; and Paducah, Kentucky.
(spacing added for clarity)

This same report has another happy statistic to share with the world.

1995 and beyond
Scientists calculate that moderately strong earthquakes, such as the Halloween 1895 quake, occur in the Central US every 70 to 90 years. There has not been one of this magnitude since 1895. Arch Johnston, director ,of the Center for Earthquake Research and Information in Memphis calculated the likelihood of a magnitude 6.3 quake or greater occurring within the next 50 years to be between 86 % and 94 %.
(Emphasis Mine) (Source: Illinois State Geological Survey - 1995 )

I'm sure someone will correct me on this but that is saying about as close to 'It's going to happen' as science comes short of that "Certain" word...they just never ever use. (Good ones, anyway). That's a thought to consider.

This is ATS and all. What kind of Doom Porn writer would I be to leave everyone pondering only one disaster?

I mean really. I know, demanding readers want more in this day and age. Well, ask and ye shall sometimes receive.

If it came at another 6.8 and nothing larger, I suppose this isn't a concern. If one looks, there is a hole across the country where no reactors sit. If one looks at the top damage estimate map from 1895 or the map located in the Illinois State Survey sheet, it may be noted the shape of damage and the hole where no reactors go, kinda line up. Almost conspicuously so. Almost as if they meant to do that.

Of course if it did come like the 1811/1812 winter series where there was a 7.7, 7.5 and 7.7 respectively (some first put them closer to 8.1), well?

I do hope the nation comes around to help us in fly-over country and Memphis will need the most, would be my guess. I try not to think about the Nuclear Plant map overlaid to that one. It's one of those 'Ignorance is bliss' moments if there ever was one. I'm also thinking bridge builders will be extremely busy for awhile, among countless others.

Quite a difference between California Quakes and the Midwest, eh? Geology is everything, I'd say.

posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 12:23 AM
nice thread

posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 12:30 AM
I live in Ga...following this thread.....

Good work Wrabbit....


posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 01:48 AM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

First, nice thread Wrabbit.
S&F of course.

I suppose the high percentage rate of one occurring in the "central US" has your wabbit tail in a cotton ball.

Well living close enough to the New Madrid to be severely affected myself, after all the years I've put into reading on quakes, I try and stay calm about it. I mean I watch it daily with live monitoring- but I really don't think it will go off again in our lifetimes. I mean it might, but imo, the probability is extremely low. And this is because of what happened in the early 1800's with those massive quakes. There was so much stress released in those shocks that again, imo, it will take probably thousands of years to build up enough stress to let loose again.

And "central US" doesn't necessarily mean the New Madrid. Could be Oklahoma, for example. Or even Texas.

But as you said so cleverly, this is ATS, and what's a TA comment without some wanton doom porn to go with it?

The earth seems to have a habit of blindsiding us sometimes, with events no one seems to expect. Japan 9+ is a prime example. Or the massive interplate quakes out off of Sumatra- with the plate apparently breaking up.

And so, what if...

What if what happened in 1812 are pre slip events to something coming that is much larger and destructive, and it is about to happen any day now? And what if all those nuke plants they put at their "comfortable distance" away stand no chance whatsoever of enduring that destruction? Fukushima times 20 or 30. Or worse.

I mean yeah sure, we can go there...BUT...CHANCES ARE, we'll be just fine and the stress was released, not to return until 5,000 years from now.

Might be interesting to find out what those nuke plants are engineered to handle (I think I recall reading that most can withstand 8.0's), and especially that one in northern Alabama. That one's pretty darn close to the NM.

I appreciated the info on that one quake...The one that happened in Charleston, SC is also interesting to read up on.

posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 03:51 AM
Imagine my dismay when I moved from the San Francisco area of California to Atlanta, Georgia in the mid eighties only to find that the fault line I now live on, though less active, is actually far more dangerous than the one I just left.

Yes, I did the "Dock of the Bay" thing in reverse.

As I understand it, geology has a lot to do with it. On the west coast I basically lived on a chunk of earth that was fairly diverse.... made up of fragmented rock, sediment, etc. Now I live upon a gigantic piece of solid granite that rings like a bell when an earthquake happens. So if the fault here slips, the vibrations travel much more effectively than they do on the west coast.

The good news is that here we have so many tornadoes there's never any time to be afraid of the ground though.


posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 08:40 AM
And here I was laughing at my sister's choice to move to the LA area years ago.
Who knew...

I guess I need to pay more attention to the ATS EQ guys

Good stuff, Wrabbit...and it made me go hunting for EQs felt in Michigan.
I felt one of these, not sure which...but I was in a large public building in Detroit...not a tall one but old and very substantial....and it felt as if you were in your home and a BIG truck went down the street.
After a moment, you realize that would be impossible to feel and have an O-OOOOH!!! moment.

1980: An earthquake registering 5.2 on the magnitude scale originated in northeast Kentucky, where it was felt as an intensity VII. It was felt as an intensity II-III in southern Michigan.
1983: An earthquake registering 5.3 on the magnitude scale originated in the Blue Mountain Lake area of New York, where it was felt as an intensity VI. Detroit was on the outer edge of the area affected by the earthquare and experienced it as an intensity II-III.
1987: An earthquake registering 5.1 on the magnitude scale originated in Olney, Illinois.

So, thanks for the thread....I think

ETA...and I think it was the 1987 one I felt

edit on Fri Mar 15 2013 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 08:47 AM
I've never had the experience of actually feeling one of the quakes in this part of the country. I felt a few growing up in California and I recall one from my childhood (don't know which named one) but I'd run to the front door during the quake and in time to see the house across the street literally swaying back and forth on it's wood frame construction. That's a sight to remember for a kid, I'll tell ya.

I always had the comfort out there of knowing things were build with that in mind and as good as tech and budgets could make it. Where Memphis is largely unreinforced brick construction and what isn't safe wood frame in Missouri also tends to be brick without a passing thought to quake damage.

Where feeling a quake in California would give me a thrill of excitement as soon as I determined it wasn't huge .... ANY felt quake in this area would give me the deep feeling of dread. Nothing good or enjoyable can be had from one in this region, I'm thinking. No one's even remotely ready for it.

posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 11:48 AM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

Dam fine work, sir - SnF from NEPA, friend.

I always appreciate the effort you put into and the presentation of your work, Wrabbit.
This one especially since I've been lookin' over y'all's shoulders out there. I've got several family memebers and near and dear ones in the Illinois-Missouri- Arkansas line and this fault gives me creepy nightmares at times.

Thanks a bunch for the information...

And if it does go off I guarantee I'll be there to help you.

Stay safe and alert, friend...

edit on 15-3-2013 by PaTommyJ because: spelling and grammer goofs not corrected in first or second proofing

posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 01:49 PM
Any New Madrid quake has the potential for widespread damage. Beyond the continuity of the bedrock (which is why the quakes are felt over so many more sq. miles than a west coast quake), the real danger is from the liquifaction of sediments. During a strong quake, light sediments (sands, alluvial deposits etc) begin to behave as liquids. How much of our infrastructure along the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio rivers in the region are built upon those sediments?
Having lived a few years in far S.W. Indiana, I have seen the scars still visible from the great quakes of the late 1800s... but I honestly worried more about tornadoes than quakes when I lived there.

posted on Mar, 15 2013 @ 04:37 PM
I may be wrong but I should point out anyways, how damaging an earthquake is also has to do with depth not just magnitude. That is why those two may be so different.

posted on Mar, 16 2013 @ 12:28 AM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

Interesting, but most geophysicists think the activity around Missouri(New Madrid seismic zone) has been significantly diminishing in the past century. Why didn't you mention the Loma Prieta quake of 1989? It was significantly stronger than the Northridge quake.
But to your point that the central U.S. quakes are different than the West Coast(typically along the San Andreas fault, but really caused by major tectonic plate interaction). This is interesting, but if you look at the "Ring of Fire", the ring that surrounds the Pacific Plate, and is where most of the volcanic and seismic activity occurs, there's not much comparison. It seems most of the New Madrid activity is historic, not current(relative to the late 1800s level of activity).
If I were living in Missouri(I'm in SF, CA) I'd be REALLY worried about tornadoes and superstorms, not earthquakes.

posted on Mar, 16 2013 @ 05:06 AM
Living in a central part of the U.S. that could potentially be affected by the New Madrid, I began to take an interest in the "what if" possibilities a few years ago. And especially after getting hit with a 5.3 last year! It was quite terrifying to experience. That one was a "roller," and quite unlike the 4.6 "shaker" that I experienced two years ago.

Doing some research, I came across an excellent technical report from the Mid-America Earthquake Center dealing realistically with a complete array of "what if" scenarios. It's a downloadable PDF document in 2 volumes. Volume II is especially interesting because it has an extensive list of bridges (complete with bridge history and pictures) that potentially would be affected by the New Madrid going off.

Here's the links:

Impact of New Madrid Seismic Zone Earthquakes on the Central USA, Vol I

Impact of New Madrid Seismic Zone Earthquakes on the Central USA, Vol II\

Hopefully some of you will find these reports as interesting as I did.

posted on Mar, 16 2013 @ 11:32 AM
I live in SC so I'm more concerned (personally) with another one like the Charleston, SC quake of 1886. I haven't heard any estimates for how long between quakes though. Some sources say it was felt from Cuba to New York and all the way over to Missouri and up to the Great Lakes. Look at the New Madrid region on this map. What happened there during the Charleston quake?

Also, look at your nuclear reactors map again in reference to SC...

Charleston, South Carolina 1886 September 01 02:51 UTC (local August 31) Magnitude 7.3 Intensity X

This is the most damaging earthquake to occur in the Southeast United States and one of the largest historic shocks in Eastern North America. It damaged or destroyed many buildings in the old city of Charleston and killed 60 people. Hardly a structure there was undamaged, and only a few escaped serious damage. Property damage was estimated at $5-$6 million. Structural damage was reported several hundred kilometers from Charleston (including central Alabama, central Ohio, eastern Kentucky, southern Virginia, and western West Virginia), and long-period effects were observed at distances exceeding 1,000 kilometers.

Many acres of ground were overflowed with sand, and craterlets as much as 6.4 meters across were formed. In a few locations, water from the craterlets spouted to heights of about 4.5 to 6 meters. Fissures 1 meter wide extended parallel to canal and stream banks. A series of wide cracks opened parallel to the Ashley River, and several large trees were uprooted when the bank slid into the river.

edit on 16/3/2013 by Iamonlyhuman because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 17 2013 @ 01:03 AM
USGS has been lying about the magnitude of New Madrid quakes for years now. It's all a bunch of BS.

posted on Mar, 26 2013 @ 02:41 AM

Originally posted by Toots
Living in a central part of the U.S. that could potentially be affected by the New Madrid, I began to take an interest in the "what if" possibilities a few years ago. And especially after getting hit with a 5.3 last year! It was quite terrifying to experience. That one was a "roller," and quite unlike the 4.6 "shaker" that I experienced two years ago.

Doing some research, I came across an excellent technical report from the Mid-America Earthquake Center dealing realistically with a complete array of "what if" scenarios. It's a downloadable PDF document in 2 volumes. Volume II is especially interesting because it has an extensive list of bridges (complete with bridge history and pictures) that potentially would be affected by the New Madrid going off.

Here's the links:

Impact of New Madrid Seismic Zone Earthquakes on the Central USA, Vol I

Impact of New Madrid Seismic Zone Earthquakes on the Central USA, Vol II\

Hopefully some of you will find these reports as interesting as I did.

T H A N K - Y O U ! ! ! !

I've rarely ever seen a single report with so many complete sets of specialized stats in so MANY different areas, before even getting to the disaster specific stuff. Through that, you can see everything from the # of sq feet they figure each person needs to sleep to how many lbs of ice per person and how many people will likely be asking from day 1 to 3 to long term. Incredible.

The damage estimates are also far more detailed than anything I have ever seen, by a long shot. It almost goes down to how many outhouses, in which counties of which states.
It was depressing to read through but very informative. over 80,000 casualties and well over a quarter billion in just direct damage was also a real eye opener.

Your contribution really ought to have a whole thread built around it. Those are even University/Official reports. It ought to make the data easier to use on something like a big thread. I'd love to see someone take the time to really do it with all THAT data. It'd make for a one of a kind on the topic.

posted on Mar, 27 2013 @ 12:21 AM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

You're welcome, Wrabbit! I discovered those docs over a year ago, and really immersed myself in them. I felt like the "what if" scenarios - especially involving infrastructure, seemed highly plausible, considering the vast area that the New Madrid encompasses.

An earthquake watch mentioning the Mid Atlantic Ridge showing signs of waking up recently that could potentially affect the New Madrid:

Be informed says:
Comment ID: 1360594
March 24, 2013 at 10:53 pm
The past few days the Mid Atlantic Ridge has been very active, this means likely to New Madrid will flare up within about 3 weeks to a month. You living in Tennessee live very close to this potential upheaval. I haven’t seen any strong indication of an imminent threat of something huge, but you can expect some movement from these areas being hit, especially all the earthquakes at between 54-60 degrees north on the Mid Atlantic Ridge. Start seeing movement between 14-20 degrees north and the New Madrid could let off a moderate quake. See a strong earthquake, mid to high 6 or larger at 14-20, and/or 54-60 degrees north, and that sucker could be getting ready to blow. You can see the latitudes on the USGS site.

This particular poster is usually very accurate in his assessments of earthquake activity. I sure hope he's wrong on this one!

posted on Mar, 27 2013 @ 12:38 AM
reply to post by Toots

I don't mind saying to you, given how much time you've spent learning about this and gaining an understanding of the deep issues here....

If the New Madrid breaks lose in the Modern America with THIS leadership? I don't mean just Obama... Katrina and Sandy were both colossal failures. It's the bureaucracy more than the guy sitting in Washington. I don't think our nation would fully recover in our lifetime. Oh, it'd recover eventually...but the disruptions alone would compound the levels of failure and complication so badly as to just blow economic scales as well as social order for most of the nation.

I just about choked on the refugee/displaced persons numbers. My god.. how would our nation handle that? There isn't the money or material to rebuild even a fraction of it in the SHORT time all those people would need new settlement somewhere that had basic things like water. It's a sobering report alright.

No designated driver on Friday night pub crawl? Just take those reports along and hand them to the intellectual of the group before last call... He'll be miserably sober in time.

posted on Mar, 27 2013 @ 12:39 AM
I haven't read every reply, so I dunno if this has been mentioned, but I go to Memphis quite frequently and lived there for about 8 months, and for at least the past 2 years they've been shoring up the Mississippi River bridges because if New Madrid blows again it'll be one of about 3 or 4 places to get across.
Yay for the Midwest!

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