Thursday is the 201st anniversary of the largest earthquake to ever occur in Missouri. Click to hear KMZU’s Kristie Cross talk to Earthquake Program Manager Steve Besemer:
It was the year 1812 when the quake struck in the town of New Madrid. Reports indicate the shake was felt by people on the east coast and church bells rang as far away as New England. The event was actually only one of between six and ten thousand earthquakes from 1811 to 1812. The city’s website today states it drowned the inhabitants of an Indian village, turned the river against itself to flow backwards, and devastated thousands of acres of forest.
While nothing of resemblance has been felt in the state since that time, Besemer said it’s only a matter of time. “We know from experts in the scientific community that we should expect, at some time in the future, another large earthquake,” said Besemer, “It really isn’t a matter of if, but a matter of when.”
The official said it’s difficult to be fully prepared because, unlike another natural disasters, there is no warning with an earthquake. “We have done quite a bit of planning with our federal partners through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and others on the federal level,” said Besemer, “We have also worked with those on the local level in our larger communities and counties to try to establish a coordinated response plan.”
Thursday’s drill is a portion of that plan. Residents are asked to practice the drop, cover, and hold-on technique for 60 seconds beginning at 10:15 a.m. According to the Missouri Department of Safety, approximately 350,000 Missouri residents have registered and committed to participating.
More information can be found by visiting SEMA’s website.
More than 350,000 Missourians are already registered to participate in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake drill on Feb. 7, the best opportunity for residents across the state to take part in Missouri Earthquake Awareness Month.
Missouri is one of nine states taking part in the ShakeOut, an earthquake drill held at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7. During the ShakeOut, participants will practice the “Drop, Cover, Hold On” technique for 60 seconds. More than one million people in the central U.S. will:
- · DROP to the ground
- · Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
- · HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops
Feb. 7 is the 201st anniversary of the largest earthquake to ever occur in Missouri.
“Unlike other natural disasters, earthquakes provide no warning before they occur,” said State Emergency Management Agency Director Donald L. King. “Scientists can’t predict when the next big earthquake will hit Missouri, but the best way to ensure earthquake safety is to plan and prepare so that we are ready when it does happen. Earthquake Awareness Month is a great opportunity for schools and families to practice and discuss preparedness so that they know what to do before, during and after an earthquake.”
Other events scheduled during Earthquake Awareness Month include:
· Feb. 1 – The Earthquakes: Mean Business seminar will be held at St. Louis University. More than 300 people, primarily from the business community, are expected to attend the seminar, which will include speakers, breakout sessions and exhibits about earthquakes and the best way to prepare for them. Registration is required. For more information go to http://parks.slu.edu/news-events/upcoming-conferences/earthquakes-mean-business/
- · Feb. 9 – Edie Starbuck, a geologist from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Geology and Land Survey will present a program on earthquake basics, history, preparedness, and the effects earthquakes have and will have on the population. The program, “The Earth Moves Under Our Feet,” will be held at 10:30 a.m. at Onondanga Cave State Park. The event is free and open to all ages. For more information, visit http://mostateparks.com/event/60039/earth-moves-under-our-feet.
- · Feb. 9 – The St. Louis Science Center will host an earthquake awareness day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., offering hands-on activities that teach participants how to prepare homes, families and businesses for earthquakes. The event is free and open to all ages.
- · Feb. 16 – The West Park Mall in Cape Girardeau will host a local Earthquake Awareness Day beginning at 10 a.m., including displays and information about earthquakes for the public.
The New Madrid Seismic Zone, centered in southeast Missouri, is the nation’s most active earthquake zone east of the Rocky Mountains. At least three of the largest earthquakes in history in the continental United States are believed to have occurred in that area in 1811-1812. The largest of the quakes was centered in the southeast Missouri town of New Madrid and occurred on Feb. 7, 1812. The earthquakes altered the flow of the Mississippi River, turned rich farmland into fields of sand and destroyed countless structures. People on the East Coast of the United States felt shaking and church bells reportedly rang as far away as New England. Although no one can predict future earthquakes, scientists say it’s only a matter of time before another major quake strikes the area.
In Missouri, a major New Madrid Seismic Zone earthquake would likely be felt throughout the state, as well as nearby states to the south and east. Missouri has a comprehensive earthquake response plan in place to assist the 47 counties that likely would be impacted most directly. Visit the Department of Natural Resources’ website for information about the science and history of earthquakes in the state at: http://dnr.mo.gov/geology/geosrv/earthquakes.htm.
SEMA has information about earthquake safety and resources to help prepare for the Great Central U.S. Shakeout, including a three minute video showing a fourth grade class taking part in a “Drop, Cover, Hold On” drill. Check out SEMA’s Earthquake Preparedness Web page: http://sema.dps.mo.gov/earthquake_preparedness/ . The video can also be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P0pSPm6dX4&feature=player_embedded
Also, SEMA is using Facebook (www.facebook.com/MissouriShakeOut) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/MOShakeOut) to provide additional information about earthquakes, earthquake preparedness and updates about the ShakeOut. This will continue throughout February. You do not need to be a member of either social network to view the information on these two resources.
To register for the ShakeOut, go to http://www.shakeout.org/centralus/index.html. This website provides more information about the ShakeOut drill and provides links to other earthquake preparedness information.