Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major Energy and Environmental News and Commentary affecting the Nuclear Industry.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Earthquake Monitoring?

Earthquake Monitoring?
John R. Joyce, Ph.D.
Yes, I can hear the question mark in your voice. True, those who live in the Pacific Ring of Fire and other tectonicly active areas are used to preparing for and monitoring earthquakes. Those who live in less active areas, preparing and monitoring has not been quite as high a priority, to put it charitably. However, if your home or business happened to be located in central Virginia on the afternoon of August 23, 2011, when a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck just 35 miles northwest of Richmond, Virginia,1 you might be tempted to reconsider. If you are inclined to write that off as a fluke, consider that the strongest earthquakes to ever hit the eastern U.S. in recorded history, estimated to have a maximum magnitude of around 7.7, occurred near New Madrid, MO. Fortunately, this series of earthquakes occurred in 1811 and 1812, so there was not as much to damage, but it did result in the creation of temporary waterfalls on the Mississippi River and the river temporarily running backwards in spots2, 3.

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