POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. | On Feb. 7, 1812, a massive earthquake centered in southeast Missouri rocked much of the nation. It was the last and the largest of three tremendous earthquakes produced by the New Madrid Seismic Zone from 1811 to 1812.
More than 200 years later, the NMSZ has been one of the most active seismic areas in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains, with about 200 small earthquakes each year. It also includes sections of Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee.
To help inform Missourians and promote earthquake preparedness, Missouri observes Earthquake Awareness Month each February, emphasizing the real possibility of another major earthquake in the NMSZ. While no one can predict exactly when an earthquake will occur, scientists agree that a large NMSZ earthquake is a significant risk.
“In the 19th century, Missouri experienced a progression of intense earthquakes that if they occurred today would create widespread destruction and disrupt the lives of millions of people,” State Emergency Management Agency Acting Director Jim Remillard said. “Earthquake Awareness Month stresses the importance of advance planning and exercises to prepare for such a catastrophic disaster.”
SEMA will host a free, public event at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, in Poplar Bluff to discuss the risks presented by the NMSZ, earthquake response planning and capabilities and how to strengthen individual and community preparedness. The “Earthquake 101” event will wrap up with a diverse panel of community experts answering questions from the audience.
More information is available on SEMA's Facebook Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/110650993704543/