I was awakened last night by an earthquake— pretty much known to be the only thing that can wake me up at night, haha. My wife, the former Californian, gave a mid-yawn guess that it was a 6.0 and that we weren’t too far from the epicenter. Not too shabby, Miss Information!
What I’m reading this morning says it was a magnitude 5.4, and that we’re about 100 miles off the location of the quake. I’ve spent some time reviewing the surely-underutilized Illinois Emergency Management Agency “earthquake safety and preparedness” pages, seeing as how I really didn’t know what to do in such an event. In Illinois, earthquake readiness is kind of like planning for a manatee attack… not exactly the first thing on your mind.
I’ll grant you, living on the New Madrid fault comes up now and again. It’s sort of an elephant in the room among Southern Illinoisians; a ticking time bomb we all tend to accept with a certain fatalistic “what can you do?” attitude. Doubtless, it will be popping up in conversations around the area all day.
Still, the eyewitness accounts from the 1811-12 New Madrid earthquakes are terrifying. In a series of quakes peaking at magnitude 8, an area ten times as large as that affected by the famous 1906 quakes of San Francisco was beaten for a span of two months. For a short time, an uplift underneath the river actually caused the Mississippi to flow upstream!