Is Mid-Missouri at risk for earthquakes?

There's a couple different schools of thought when it comes to earthquakes in the New Madrid seismic zone. Some seismologists say they think there won't be any more earthquakes in that area. But the U.S.G.S. says the New Madrid area is due for a big one.

Then there's some who say we just don't know enough to say if or when an earthquake will hit. Associate professor at the University of Missouri Eric Sandvol is in that group. He says that's the scary part, all the unknowns of the New Madrid fault lines.

Sandvol said, "The crazy thing is that we can't detect any movement across the New Madrid seismic zone. We have ways to very accurately measure the movements and we can see this really well in California. You can see the movement of the two plates. But in New Madrid we don't see this relative motion. And yet we know there's been earthquakes in the past so we don't understand exactly why."

But Sandvol says if there were a major earthquake in the New Madrid seismic zone, like a six-and-a-half or higher; the effects would be felt here in Mid Missouri, maybe even a something called liquefaction.

Sandvol said, "Liquefaction is kind of what it sounds, actually a portion of the ground liquefies. So what we TMd probably be most worried about is bridge spans, potentially bridges going out."

SEMA Earthquake Program Manager Steve Besemer said, "Here in the central part of the country because of the type of bedrock we have underneath and because these soft soils we have on the river valleys on top. Those types of things not only carry the energy over a much larger area but makes it have a lot more op when it does come up to the surface."

That's why Besemer says area households should take action.

"Having some supplies set aside for when the power goes out, Besemer said. Because certainly after a large scale earthquake we can see power outages for weeks.

Besemer says like all emergency situations, it's better to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.