Here in Kansas, we’re used to staying weather aware when it comes to all types of weather. The threat of tornadoes, damaging winds, large hail, flooding rains, lightning, and even oppressive heat and humidity. But we received a reminder over the weekend that there’s something else we need to add to that list. Earthquakes. On Sunday, August 9th, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck near Sparta, NC. There was some damage reported too.
While we know that we experience earthquakes here in Kansas, there’s a significant fault line that’s nearby. The New Madrid Fault Line. It’s epicenter is in New Madrid, MO and also goes through portions of Arkansas and Tennessee.
This fault line has produced four of the largest earthquakes in North American history all over a 3 month period between 1811 and 1812. Aftershocks from these earthquakes were felt for several years.
After the 1811 to 1812 earthquakes there were more that were 5 magnitude and higher doing damage in Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and Indiana. You may be thinking, what does all of this have to do with Kansas. This fault line has the potential to produce large earthquakes in the future, and a serious one that could cause (according to FEMA) widespread and catastrophic damage in surrounding areas. This includes potential impacts to Kansas.
We’re used to hearing “when thunder roars, go indoors” and “turn around, don’t drown”, but it’s also important to remember “drop, cover, and hold on”.