Many Americans don’t understand that the greatest earthquakes in U.S. history happened along the New Madrid fault Line. Back in the early part of the 19th century, a series of very powerful earthquakes shook the entire eastern half of the nation.
According to documents that we have from that era say that those earthquakes were so powerful that they were felt more than 1,000 miles away. There is evidence that if we had a similar earthquake today that the damage caused would almost be incalculable.
There were not many people living in the area at the time. Today however, there are more than 15 million people living in the quake zone. If a similar quake hit, “7.2 million people could be displaced, with 2 million seeking temporary shelter” in the first three days, FEMA Associate Adminsitrator William Carwile told a Congressional panel in 2010. “Direct economic losses for the eight states could total nearly $300 billion, while indirect losses at least twice that amount.”
That is why the recent in Indiana is so alarming. According to this report, half a dozen mystery holes have been discovered on Mount Baldy…
More than a year after a 6-year-old boy was almost buried alive in a popular sand dune, more holes are appearing and scientists still aren’t sure why. The 126 foot sand dune, called Mount Baldy, in Indiana, remains closed as new potentially dangerous holes are appearing. Three geologists arrived last week with high tech equipment in the hope of using radio waves and core samples to see if they can determine what’s causing the holes. Their plan? To eventually build a three dimensional map of the dune to try and see it’s internal structure.
You can view a video news report about these mysterious holes right here… Scientists have found six mysterious holes at Michigan City's Mount Baldy, including the one 6-year-old Nathan Woessner fell in last July.
Officials at the U.S. Geological Survey recently released a report that stated that the New Madrid fault zone has the “potential for larger and more powerful quakes than previously thought“.
In addition, retail powerhouse Wal-Mart is so concerned about the potential for a major quake that it “participated in an exercise to prepare for an earthquake on the New Madrid fault line” earlier this year…
Walmart Stores Inc., with its huge network of stores and facilities, has also taken note. “We are seeing increased earthquake activity in the central U.S. That is an area we are focusing on even more,” said Mark Cooper, senior director of emergency management at Walmart, in an interview. He explained that Walmart takes an “all-hazard” approach to emergency preparedness, but focuses on specific risks in areas of the country where those risks are particularly relevant, such as hurricanes in Louisiana. “A few weeks ago, we participated in an exercise to prepare for an earthquake on the New Madrid fault line,” he said.
But the New Madrid fault zone is certainly not the only area to be keeping an eye on.
Down in north Mexico, a giant crack in the ground about a kilometer long has recently appeared. It is estimated to be approximately 16 feet across and 8 feet deep. You can view some stunning aerial footage of this giant crack in the Earth right here…
Drone Video from Hermosillo Sonora Mexico Emergency Management. August 15, 2014 (sped up 2x by original uploader at Mexico emergency mgmt).
Some believe that an earthquake along the San Andreas Fault may be to blame for this giant fissure.
Others believe that it is being caused by an underground stream.
While footage of giant cracks in the Earth such as you have just seen can be quite spectacular, what is far more alarming to me personally are the cold, hard earthquake numbers.
For example, as I mentioned above, the number of big earthquakes that we have seen this year has been far higher than usual. The following is from a recent CBS News report…
If you think there have been more earthquakes than usual this year, you’re right. A new study finds there were more than twice as many big earthquakes in the first quarter of 2014 as compared with the average since 1979.And this is not something that has just started happening. As that same article explained, this is all part of a much longer trend…
The average rate of big earthquakes — those larger than magnitude 7 — has been 10 per year since 1979, the study reports. That rate rose to 12.5 per year starting in 1992, and then jumped to 16.7 per year starting in 2010 — a 65 percent increase compared to the rate since 1979. This increase accelerated in the first three months of 2014 to more than double the average since 1979, the researchers report.In particular, things really seem to be heating up in the middle portion of the United States. As I mentioned at the start of this article, the frequency of earthquakes in the central and eastern parts of the nation has quintupled over the past 30 years…
According to the USGS, the frequency of earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S. has quintupled, to an average of 100 a year during the 2011-2013 period, up from only 20 per year during the 30-year period to 2000.
Most of these quakes were minor, but research published by the USGS earlier this year demonstrated that a relatively minor magnitude 5.0 quake caused by wastewater injection after conventional oil drilling triggered a much bigger, 5.7 magnitude quake in Prague, Okla.
“We know the hazard has increased for small and moderate size earthquakes. We don’t know as well how much the hazard has increased for large earthquakes. Our suspicion is it has but we are working on understanding this,” said William Ellsworth, a scientist with the USGS.What we are watching happen is truly unprecedented. Oklahoma alone has experienced more than 2,300 earthquakes so far this year. Scientists don’t really know what to make of this alarming increase in seismic activity.
Could all of this be leading up to something really big?
And what will things look like if we do get hit by a magnitude 8 or a magnitude 9 earthquake in a very heavily populated area?