Millions practice earthquake safety in the Great Central US Shakeout

Jan 31, 2012

The two-hundredth anniversary of the New Madrid earthquake was recently. The Great Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium is not waiting around for it to happen again. The group is helping set up region-wide readiness programs.

In the winter of 1811-1812, three earthquakes rattled the central United States with magnitudes estimated between 7.0 to 8.0 on the Richter Scale. 200 years later, this type of anniversary begs the question of preparedness around the area for another quake. Brian Blake, who helps organize the Great Central US Shakeout says the most important aspect during earthquakes to be prepared and have a plan.

“Drop to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk or table and hold onto it until the shaking stops. And then to learn that action, but also to practice it and then take other actions around their homes or their businesses to secure their space against earthquakes.”

Blake also says earthquakes here in Mid Missouri and around the New Madrid seismic zone have a different effect on the ground than earthquakes seen more commonly in California.

“Any area that is near a river bed or a river channel has a chance to kind of liquefy during strong shaking. And basically, liquefaction means that soil loses its ability to bear weight. That is possible up and down the Mississippi River in the New Madrid seismic zone.”

The Great Central US Shakeout takes place at 10:15 AM Tuesday February 7th, where, according to Blake, more than two million people are expected participate in earthquake safety.