I am thinking you are working for a geotech consulting firm. I did that for more than a few years, and cut my teeth on geology while I was in school
taking blow counts and calculating rock competencies. Keep it up, its not the most glamorous of jobs, but you are getting a good deal of
(When I was training, went out with our senior geologist. I decided to have some fun with him. We were driving split spoons in deep native clay, and
when i took the spoon off the hammer, I slipped a bottle cap in the end. When he popped the spoon open and found that, he spent an hour trying to
decide if he was in fill or not
Observer, as far as when a serious seismic event might take place in the New Madrid, who knows? It has been relatively quiet for almost 200 years, and
quite frankly, that is what worries me.
In the San Andreas, it releases a good sized 6.0-7.0 every 10-20 years, and essentially blows most if not all the energy it has stored. Dont worry so
much about a seismic zone if it is active on a regular basis, as that activity doesnt allow it to build up dangerous levels of energy. When a seismic
zone is quiet for decades or centuries, it is building up enormous amounts of energy.
In addition, the New Madrid is composed of much more competent rocks than the San Andreas, meaning the rocks are much more solid, stronger, and
capable of containing much higher energy levels. Consider that a quake doesnt occur until the stored energy exceeds the strength of the rocks.
Certainly, monitor the seismic activity there in the New Madrid. There are likely to be some foreshocks before a massive quake. However, when you look
and find that the New Madrid regularly releases very small 3.0 shocks on a regular basis, it is hard to identify a true foreshock.