Quakes are freaky

November 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

From what I know about earthquakes, the rocks underneath California are softer than the rocks under the midwest.  This softness in the rocks is one of the reasons that quakes are much more common – they are able to slide around more frequently.  It’s also a reason that many of these quakes are not significant.  Contrast that with the rocks in the midwest that are solid. These plates don’t move around much.  But when they do, the damage can be severe.  The firmer rocks carry the movement for much farther than softer rocks that absorb the energy.

I’m not plate tectonic wizard – just some stuff I seem to recall.  But after reading about the earthquake in Oklahoma on November 5th, I googled again.

I remember an earthquake being predicted around 1990 in the St. Louis area.  It didn’t materialize, but it garnered a lot of attention and spurred a lot of documentaries on quakes and plates.  The other thing that came to the forefront is New Madrid.

New Madrid is a small town in Missouri and its known as the center of a great quake in 1811.  For those not familiar, here is some of the stories that are told – stories that seemed so fantastic it seemed like ‘lore. “It rang bells in Boston”, we would say as kids.  The most famous was that the quake was so huge that “it made the mighty Mississippi run backwards”.

There were 3 quakes that started in December of 1811 and spilled into 1812.  This is from Nat Geo:

Earthquakes in central or eastern U.S. affect much larger areas than quakes in the western part of the country.  

On December 16, 1811, a powerful earthquake jolted the 400 residents of the town of New Madrid, Missouri. The intense tremor set church bells ringing in Boston, Massachusetts—1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away.

The 1811-1812 quakes were felt over more than 2 million square miles (5.2 million square kilometers), with chimneys falling in Cincinnati, Ohio, and sidewalks buckling in Baltimore, Maryland.

Miles of banks along the Mississippi River are reported to have caved in as a result of the events, and at certain points the land tilted so dramatically that the river ran backwards.



Entry filed under: Environment. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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