Earthquake Risk ... in Memphis?

Unless you live in earthquake-prone California, you probably don't think twice about earthquakes. But just because you don't live on the west coast, that doesn't mean you're safe:

We may not be able to accurately predict earthquakes, but the USGS has determined that the locations most likely to suffer a large earthquake in the next 30 years are:

The New Madrid Zone:
Believe it or not, this 120 mile stretch following the Mississippi River created the largest earthquake ever recorded in the continental US. This was an estimated 8.1 (on the Richter scale) which is equivalent to the energy released with an explosion of 1 Billion tons of TNT. For comparison, the energy released in a small atomic bomb would be much smaller in size and be equivalent to a 4.0 on the Richter scale. Memphis and St. Louis are right on the zone, and large portions of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Southern Illinois are likely to be effected by a New Madrid Zone earthquake as well.

Link - Thanks Jason!

I live in Memphis, and we're very much aware that we're in the New Madrid Seismic Zone. About two years ago there was an earthquake in Arkansas that was strong enough for us to feel it here.
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I felt earthquakes twice while living in West Tennessee. There was a scare about a predicted "big one" about twenty years ago, and I interviewed my father (a geologist) about it to drive home the fact that these things cannot be predicted.
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I'm blown away that Californian's think they've got the earthquakes all to themselves. Reelfoot Lake my friends; that's an earthquake that would break off San Francisco.

Research it further and you'll also find that the 8.1 quake also caused the mighty Mississippi to flow backwards.

I'm in the orange zone also.
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John Dubya - actually, Californians are probably more aware of the New Madrid quake and fault zone than those who live in the area ... it's taught in high schools here as part of the basic science curriculum (and as a transplant to CA, I learned about it in basic geology in college).

I've lived in red zones for twenty years now ... moved here from a blue zone.

The other folks who I don't think are fully aware of the hazard are those along the Cascadia Subduction Zone. (Seattle, I'm talking to you.)
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Yep, we have quakes in Southern Indiana for sure. I've been in Evansville for 10 years now and I've experienced two. Both short, 5 seconds or so, but supposedly 4 - 5 on the scale - enough to knock stuff over and cause cracks in foundations. No one died of course.
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There's a spot in KY on Highway 231 in which you can see an actual branch of New Madrid as a seam in the rock where they blasted through the hill for the highway. What's really frightening is that there has been almost no preparation for a large scale quake in most of the risk zone, plus almost no structures are built to resist tremors. A big quake on the New Madrid will make what Katrina did to New Orleans look like nothing.
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