New Madrid community stays prepared 211 years after earthquake sequence
NEW MADRID, Mo. (KFVS) - December 16, 2022, marks 211 years since a New Madrid, Missouri earthquake sequence that was felt as far as New York City.
The magnitude 7.5 earthquake destroyed the town and changed the lives of residents.
The New Madrid Historical Museum has an entire exhibit dedicated to these earthquakes. Included in the exhibit are several eyewitness testimonies that visitors can read or listen to.
“We began to hear a rumbling noise that sounded like thunder, in an instant the earth began to shake so much that it was impossible to stand or walk,” one 1811 New Madrid resident said in his account of the events. “Shocks continued for months, and many families fled.”
Even 211 years later, Museum Administrator Jeff Grunwald said the New Madrid Fault Line poses a risk.
“You are in the most seismically active area in the United States east of the Rockies,” Grunwald said.
The earthquakes over two centuries ago rocked the nation.
Some legends even say it rang church bells in Boston, however, Grunwald said they still have no proof of that.
The New Madrid community still acknowledges that an earthquake of that magnitude could happen again.
“We still have them, there are probably between three hundred to four hundred earthquakes per year that hit on the New Madrid Seismic Zone,” Grunwald said.
Although the fault line lies in Southeast Missouri, the threat of a large earthquake here, could affect many others.
“In this part of the country, shockwaves from seismic activity actually travel up to twenty times as far as they do on the West Coast,” Grunwald said.
Even so many years later, the community stays prepared.
“Should something happen, we’re probably equipped to withstand at least a couple of weeks before help could get here.”
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