In this figure, the dots mark the epicenters of earthquakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater between January 1974 and December 2013. The stars mark the epicenters of earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 or greater since 1800. Geological structures identified in the fi
Courtesy Indiana University

With the New Madrid fault just a hundred miles south of St. Louis, it’s long been known that the region is at a greater risk for an earthquake than other parts of the Midwest. But new research indicates that St. Louis is part of an area that has seismic activity of its own.

National Seismic Hazard map of the continental United States, released in July of 2014. This view measures peak ground acceleration.
United States Geological Survey

Last week, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake in Napa, Calif. ripped through a region where less than 6 percent of homeowners and renters have earthquake insurance.

Could the same thing happen along the New Madrid Fault in southeastern Missouri?

Statewide, about one-third of Missourians are insured against earthquakes. But those who live in the most earthquake-prone areas are much less likely to have coverage.

Missouri Shake Out/SEMA

This morning, residents of Missouri, Illinois, and seven other Central U.S. states participated in an earthquake preparedness drill.

The annual event is known as the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut. This year, close to three million people registered to participate.

On April 11 of this year, an extraordinary cluster of earthquakes struck off Sumatra. The largest shock, magnitude 8.7, produced stronger ground-shaking than any earthquake ever recorded. And it surprised seismologists by triggering more than a dozen moderate earthquakes around the world.

The quakes are also a sign of big changes to come in the Earth's crust.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

St. Louis police express concerns with cameras in patrol cars

Officers with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department are seeking ways to avoid driving patrol cars equipped with cameras over concerns that footage from the cameras is being used against them.

(USGS website)

The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting that, in addition to the 4.0 magnitude earthquake centered near East Prairie, Mo. early this morning, a second, smaller earthquake originated today near the same location in the New Madrid Seismic Zone

The second earthquake happened around 11:05 a.m.


The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is an annual event intended to raise awareness about what to do in the event of a major earthquake.

Steve Besemer of the Missouri Emergency Management Agency says in Missouri and Illinois, more than 900,000 people, most of them students, participated in today's drill.

He says if an earthquake hits, there are three simple steps people should follow.

(M.L. Fuller, image 137/USGS)

Friday, Dec. 16, marks the 200th anniversary of the first of the New Madrid earthquakes, a series of large tremors centered in northeastern Arkansas and southeastern Missouri.

The earthquakes of 1811 and 1812 were so big, legend has it, they made the Mississippi River run backwards.

Seismologist Susan Hough of the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena, Calif., says that’s actually true – at least where the fault crosses underneath the river channel.

M.L. Fuller (Image 336)/USGS

Mo. schools and residents to prepare for next big earthquake

It was nearly 200 years ago that the first in a series of massive earthquakes shook Missouri and much of the nation. Now, several Missouri school districts will take part in a drill to prepare for the next big one.

State officials say that nearly 100 districts and individual schools have registered for Missouri's second statewide earthquake drill at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7. Meanwhile, more than 146,000 residents are also registered for the drill, called the "Great Central U.S. ShakeOut."

The magnitude-5.8 earthquake that rattled the eastern U.S. on Tuesday took everyone — even geologists — by surprise. But even when there are reasons to think an earthquake could be around the corner, scientists still can't make good predictions.

Small Earthquake Felt in St. Louis

A light earthquake shook parts of Missouri and souther Illinois early this morning. The United States Geological Service says the 4.2 magnitude earthquake was centered about 14 miles east of Sullivan in Franklin County. Sullivan is about 50 miles southwest of St. Louis.

The earthquake, which was 3.2 miles deep hit about 3:10 a.m. The USGS says the temblor was felt as far west as Columbia, Mo., and as far east as Carbondale, Ill.

(U.S. Geological Survey)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is holding drills across six states this week to see how prepared they are for a major earthquake along the New Madrid fault.

FEMA is teaming up with the military, as well as local hospitals, shelters and morgues for the simulation.

Beth Freeman is the FEMA regional administrator for Missouri and several neighboring states.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Students at Carnahan High School of the Future in south St. Louis were front and center today in a national earthquake preparedness drill.

Governor Jay Nixon, Congressman Russ Carnahan, and two members of President Obama's cabinet - education secretary Arne Duncan and Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano - watched as the 19 students in Lucy Duffey's class dropped to the ground, covered their heads, and held onto tables in the library.

(courtesy Ameren)

In the wake of the nuclear reactor crisis in Japan, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says the United States should re-evaluate the risks of nuclear energy and make smart decisions going forward.

Workers in Japan are trying to prevent a nuclear meltdown by cooling overheating reactors damaged by Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

McCaskill says Ameren Missouri's Callaway Nuclear Plant is safer because it's a "pressurized water reactor", not a "boiling water reactor" like the one in Japan.

Some scientists say risks of another major earthquake from the New Madrid fault are minimal.

But FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate insists the threat to the St. Louis region is real.

Tomorrow marks the St. Louis kickoff of the bicentennial events commemorating the earthquakes that struck the New Madrid Seismic Zone in 1811-12.  You’ve probably heard stories about those quakes: that church bells rang in Boston, that the Mississippi River ran backwards. Much of that, it turns out, is legend.  So what do we know about the New Madrid fault and the risk it poses to the modern Midwest?

Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the Haitian earthquake.

The magnitude 7.0 tremor was the worst to hit the region in more than two centuries, killing over 200,000 people.

Today, more than a million Haitians are still living in tents and improvised shelters, without access to clean water and sanitation facilities.

Washington University professor Lora Iannotti was in Haiti on the day the earthquake struck. She has returned several times since then to continue her research in nutrition and public health.

Before going back to Haiti again last week, Iannotti spoke with St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra about health conditions in this struggling Caribbean nation.