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 New Madrid earthquakes broke up rock like this section of rock face, which was later filled with sand. This photo, from Mississippi County, Mo., was taken in 1904.
Credit M.L. Fuller (Image 362) / USGS
The earthquakes caused the Mississippi River to overflow its banks. The high water brought sand, which covered up several feet at the base of trees. The trees survived and grew roots into the new sand, which had been washed away by the time this picture was taken in 1904.
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.