By Michael Snyder – End Of The American Dream
Most Americans expect the next great earthquake in the United States to come on the west coast. But what if it strikes right down the middle of the country instead? The New Madrid fault zone is six times larger than the San Andreas fault zone in California and it covers portions of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. Back in 1811 and 1812, a series of absolutely devastating earthquakes along the New Madrid fault zone opened very deep fissures in the ground, caused the Mississippi River to run backwards in some places, and were reportedly felt as far away as Washington D.C. and Boston. They were the strongest earthquakes ever recorded east of the Rocky Mountains, and scientists tell us that it is only a matter of time before we experience similar quakes. In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey has admitted that the New Madrid fault zone has the “potential for larger and more powerful quakes than previously thought“, and the number of significant earthquakes in the middle part of the country has more than quintupled in recent years. Someday, perhaps without any warning, an absolutely massive earthquake will strike the New Madrid fault. Thousands of Americans will die, tens of thousands of structures will be completely destroyed, and millions of people will find themselves homeless.
Unlike on the west coast, buildings within the New Madrid fault zone are typically not constructed to withstand major earthquakes. If we were to see the type of earthquake that we saw a little over two centuries ago, it would be a disaster unlike anything that any of us have ever known. The following comes from WKRN, and it describes what those earthquakes back in 1811 and 1812 were like…
Can you believe that in the winter of 1811-1812 a series of earthquakes in northwest Tennessee shook the ground so hard that church bells rang on the East Coast and sidewalks cracked in Washington D.C?
The sitting president, James Madison, was even awakened in the middle of the night by the shaking of the White House.
In Tennessee, and surrounding states, the early settlers and Native American Indians were terrified by the shaking. Large fissures opened up in the ground, and some witnessed the Mississippi River appearing to flow backwards.
It is believed that those quakes shook an area ten times larger than that impacted by the 7.8 San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Some of the giant cracks that opened up in the ground were up to five miles long, and the stench of fire and brimstone hung in the air for months afterwards.
Fortunately, the middle of the country was not heavily populated in 1811 and 1812, so the overall amount of damage was not that great. The following comes from Smithsonian.com…