From The Writer’s Almanac:

Two hundred years ago today, in 1811, [coincidentally on Jane Austin’s birthday and the same year she published Sense and Sensibility] two mega-earthquakes struck the Louisiana Territory. They were the first two in a series of four quakes that rocked the New Madrid fault line, which runs through the region near the borders of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee; the New Madrid earthquakes remain the most severe quakes ever to strike the Eastern United States, with an estimated magnitude of around 8.0 on the Richter scale.

The epicenter was in what is now northeastern Arkansas, and structural damage was minimal because the area was sparsely populated, but the effects were felt over an area of a million square miles. Eyewitnesses reported that the Mississippi River appeared to reverse its course, the soil liquefied, and plumes of sulfurous gas shot up from the ground. The midnight quakes reportedly woke people in Pittsburgh, rang church bells in Boston, and toppled chimneys in Maine.

The zone is still active, and some seismologists believe that the region is overdue for a repeat performance. If a similar quake along the New Madrid fault were to happen now, given the current population density and the presence of 15 nuclear power plants within the quake zone, the results would be apocalyptic.


  1. Cubeland Mystic says

    I an not at liberty to comment about this at this time.

  2. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    Think Mad Max meets Dukes of Hazzard, with a dollop of Deliverance.

Speak Your Mind