Very Shallow Earthquake Series Swarms Lilbourn, Missouri, Right in the New Madrid Seismic Zone

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The New Madrid Fault Line is constantly releasing pressure these days.

Already 9 very shallow earthquakes have hit near Lilbourn, Missouri since September 30, 2019.

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Lilbourn, Missouri is currently hit by a swarm of earthquakes that has started on September 30, 2019. Map via USGS

The area around Lilbourn, Missouri, is releasing a lot of pressure these days. After a M3.1 earthquake on September 29, 2019, the USGS indicates the region has experienced at least 9 very shallow tremors in the last 12 hours.

Here the information for each of the quakes in this series:

Earthquakes hit at depths between 7km (4.3 miles) and 9.5km (5.9 miles). This is very shallow.

The tremors have not been widely felt by residents living in the epicenter’s area.

Potential For Future Strong Earthquakes on the New Madrid Seismic Zone

In a report filed in November 2008, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency warned that a serious earthquake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone could result in “the highest economic losses due to a natural disaster in the United States.

The report further predicts “widespread and catastrophic” damage across Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and particularly Tennessee.

There a 7.7 magnitude quake would cause damage to tens of thousands of structures affecting water distribution, transportation systems, and other vital infrastructure.

The earthquake is expected to also result in many thousands of fatalities, with more than 4,000 of the fatalities expected in Memphis alone.

In October 2009, a scientific team considered a scenario where all three segments of the New Madrid Seismic Zone ruptured simultaneously with a total earthquake magnitude of 7.7.

This second report found that there would be significant damage in the eight states studied – Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee – with the probability of additional damage in states farther from the NMSZ.

Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri would be most severely impacted, and the cities of Memphis, Tennessee, and St. Louis, Missouri, would be severely damaged.

The report estimated 86,000 casualties, including 3,500 fatalities, 715,000 damaged buildings, and 7.2 million people displaced, with two million of those seeking shelter, primarily due to the lack of utility services. Direct economic losses, according to the report, would be at least $300 billion.

So get prepared for the next Big One on the New Madridi Seismic Zone… Because it is going to be terrible. [USGS, Wikipedia]

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