Saturday, November 29, 2008
I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. I spent my early professional life living in Southern California. For me, earthquakes, although not pleasant, are a part of life. You learn to live with the earth shaking and moving beneath your feet.
However, Arkansas, is not a place usually associated with seismic activity.
A series of small earthquakes that rattled central Arkansas in recent weeks could be a sign of something much bigger to come. Five earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 2.2 to 2.7 have hit central Arkansas this month.
Arkansas quakes generally occur in the state’s northeast corner, part of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, where three temblors with magnitudes of around 8 struck during the winter of 1812 and smaller ones continue today. But central Arkansas does not have any seismic history.
However, if the earthquakes are caused by a previously unknown fault, that could mean a much more powerful temblor in the future. A recently discovered fault in eastern Arkansas near Marianna caused an earthquake with a magnitude of between 7.2 and 7.5 in the past 5,000 years, according to Al-Shukri, the director of the Arkansas Earthquake Center at the University of Arkansas.
This enormous fault could cause widespread, catostrophic damage.