Earthquake chance predicted in New Madrid region

Earthquake chance predicted in New Madrid region
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 7:33 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Earthquakes can be seen as uncommon in the Tri-State, but almost 15 years ago an earthquake rocked the area.

USI Professor of Geology Paul Doss recalls the 5.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked the Tri-State on April 16, 2008.

“I had some things on my desk that fell onto my fingers as I was doing some work,” said Doss.

The quake struck along the Wabash Valley Fault System, and centered in Mt. Carmel Illinois. It was felt as far away as Kitchener, Ontario.

“That Seismic energy that moved the ground beneath our feet was released when there was some movement in the earth’s crust at a depth and it is that adjustment of the earth’s crust that releases energy and it travels out radially in all directions and that’s what we feel under our feet.”

While Doss says he would consider the 2008 quake, moderate. Our region does have history with a large scale earthquake along the New Madrid Fault System.

“Estimates have put the magnitude of that earthquake at around 8.1, 8.2,″said Doss.

The massive 1811 quake centered near New Madrid, Missouri...about 180 miles south east of Evansville. It had a permanent impact.

Compared to our 8.2, last month’s earthquake in Turkey and Syria was a 7.8.

Doss says the Turkey-Syria quake was detected here in Evansville.

Although predicting an earthquake isn’t as easy as predicting tomorrow’s weather, Doss says, studying probabilities, there’s a chance we could experience a massive earthquake here, in our lifetimes.

“Some of the probabilities that have been established for the New Madrid System suggest that within the next 50 years there’s about a 10 percent probability that a magnitude 7 earthquake would strike the New Madrid region.”