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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of


CURWOOD: Think of earthquakes and our thoughts inevitably turn to California. Our fault is only looking at the Golden State. On the continental United States, the area with the second greatest number of fault lines is New England. November marks the 245th anniversary of the region's largest recorded quake. If they'd had Richter scales back in 1750, the meters would have peaked at 6.2. New England's most recent large quake came 190 years later, shaking the Granite State of New Hampshire for 4 days in December of 1940. The mother of all US quakes wasn't in California, nor New England, but the usually stable Midwest. Starting in December of 1811, some 2,000 tremors rocked the area around New Madrid in southern Missouri over the next 3 months. The largest of these quakes is estimated to have hit 8.8 on the Richter scale. So severe were these shocks that New Madrid sank about 12 feet, the Mississippi flowed north for several hours, and more than 150,000 acres of forest were flattened. Now that's an earthquake.



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