Photo: Wikimedia Commons
FEMA estimates that more than 7 million people would be displaced, and at least 15 bridges destroyed if a major earthquake hits the New Madrid fault line. They are also concerned about the issues that could arise from the 15 nuclear power stations in the area. They are all the same design as the Fukushima plant, which we now know, are prone to earthquake damage.
The New Madrid fault line runs from Cairo, Illinois to Marked Tree, Arkansas, a distance of 130 miles. The upper end of the fault is beneath the Mississippi Delta.
The location of the New Madrid makes it prone to very destructive quakes due to the ground composition. Earthquakes are magnified when they move through unconsolidated ground such as gravel, sand and silt. All materials that are abundant in the area. When water is added into the mix, as it would be along the line of the fault liquefaction occurs. Liquefaction causes the water in the soil to come to the surface and buildings literally topple over, or sink, often almost completely intact.
The following video is grainy, it was filmed in 1964 in Japan. The first 20 seconds show liquefaction during an earthquake, the film returns to the liquefaction at 36 seconds.
In addition to the 7 million displaced it’s estimated that a further 8 million people would be affected in some way by a New Madrid quake.
The area isn’t new to earthquakes. A series of quakes in 1811-1812 are well documented. Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee was formed when the ground subsided during one of them.
So, in the light of all that why would anyone chose to build nuclear power stations in such an area?
The USGS conducted a survey in 2009 that concluded that a major quake on the New Madrid would result in catastrophic loss of life and that severe damage to buildings and infrastructure would occur. In part this is because there are few requirements that building are ‘hardened’ as they are in California.
Again, why is there no regulation for the hardening of buildings and infrastructure in a known earthquake area?
Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee all sit along the fault line. You would have thought that with eight states and up to 15 million people affected the New Madrid would be in the news a good deal more than it is.
Contributed by Chris Carrington of The Daily Sheeple.
Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!