New Madrid

A coalition of ninety environmental groups and over twenty community leaders in Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky are urging President Obama to block the Army Corps of Engineers from completing a $165 million  levee project in Missouri’s bootheel.
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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – After months of delay, the Army Corps of Engineers has posted its latest draft environmental impact statement on the controversial plan to close a floodway gap in the Mississippi River’s levee system in the Missouri Bootheel.

The draft EIS for the long-delayed St. John's Bayou-New Madrid Floodway project was criticized Friday by environmental groups that called on the administration of President Barack Obama to block the $165 million project.

(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.

(USGS)

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Milus and Wanda Wallace can't move heaven, but they are moving tons of earth to live once again on their "slice of heaven" in the southern section of the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway.

The Wallaces' Mississippi County farm was among the 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland inundated by floodwater in May after the Army Corps of Engineers intentionally breached the levee in three places to alleviate flooding in Cairo, Ill., and other towns along the Mississippi River.

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.

(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.

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?