Were do you think this monster quake would be? I bet you are thinking California or Alaska. We all know that they have been the areas of quake activity in the last 100 years or so. However, some of the largest quakes happened in the American heartland. The New Madrid seismic zone (NMSZ) weaves its way through five states: Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois.

Now lets do a comparisons. Most likely you are familiar with the latest quake in Pakistan which registered up to a 7.7 on the Richter scale. That’s a very large quake and you can see the damage that it did even quite a distance from the epic zone. Well, just think of the damage a 8.25 could do. That is the what they think the 1895 quake known as the Charleson Missouri earthquake registered. Plus according to the United States Geological survey (USGS) in the winter of 1811-1812 at least three earthquakes of the four biggest recorded quakes in the lower 48 took place and they were as large as 8.25. The San Francisco 1906 earthquake may have been 7.8 or up to 8.25. Scientist are unsure because their were no meters during those times.


Severe shaking accompanied the powerful New Madrid earthquakes that struck during the winter of 1811-1812. By winters end, few houses within 250 miles of the Mississippi River town of New Madrid (Missouri) remained undamaged. (19th-century illustration, courtesy of the State Historical Society of Missouri.)

The Mississippi River was changed. Parts of the river flowed backward for hours, Islands disappeared or appereared, Seiches, inland tsunamis sank boats. In other place lands and ponds disappeared and new ones appeared in other places. If a home was not destroyed by the equake it most likely caught on five from damaged a fireplace and stove. Even log cabins with its a type of construction that can normally survive quake were overcome from all the tremmors that followed.


Source: Backwoods Home Magazine, March/April 2006 Issue # 98,Gold Beach, OR “Monster Quake”