The New Madrid Seismic Zone: Earthquake hazards to the central United States
Department of Geology and Geography
Denison University, Granville, Ohio 43023
The New Madrid Seismic Zone has been the source of substantial earthquakes throughout recorded history. Due to an aulacogen of Precambrian age, this region of intense seismic activity along the Mississippi River in the central United States has produced some of the largest earthquakes in the United States. Over the period of 1811 to 1812, several earthquakes with magnitutdes of over 6.0 on the Richter Scale were recorded. These destroyed entire towns and altered the course of the Missippi River. Action along the fault zone has continued into recent times with minor earthquakes occuring on a near daily basis. Major cities presently in the region of the Seismic Zone make it necessary to be aware and prepared for the seismic hazards associated with this geologically active location.