Middle America is experiencing unprecedented increase in earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater
(April 6) A new United States Geological Survey study has found that middle America between Alabama and Montana is experiencing an unprecedented increase in earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater. In 2011, there were 134 events of that size. That’s six times more than were normally seen during the 20th century. While the changes in the area’s seismicity began in 2001, the trend has really accelerated since 2009, the geologists note. In some regions, the increase in earthquakes is even greater than six fold. For example, in Oklahoma over the past half-century, there were an average of 1.2 quakes of greater than 3.0 magnitude per year. Since 2009, there have been more than 25 per year. “A naturally-occurring rate change of this magnitude is unprecedented outside of volcanic settings or in the absence of a main shock, of which there were neither in this region,” the scientists write.
The conclusion that at least one environmental group has drawn from this data is that fracking, in one way or another, has caused these earthquakes. The Environmental Working Group notes that more than 400,000 wells were drilled between 2001 and 2010, a 65% increase over the previous ten-year period. Lots of wells plus lots of water injected underground could change the subterranean conditions and lead to more earthquakes. The USGS scientists aren’t willing to draw the causal connection between fracking and earthquakes. “While the seismicity rate changes described here are almost certainly manmade, it remains to be determined how they are related to either changes in extraction methodologies or the rate of oil and gas production,” they conclude. But if it is not fracking, then … What is it? At the moment, we don’t have a whole lot of other hypotheses, just a lot of unexplained earthquakes in places where they don’t normally strike. (Source)
New Madrid Seismic Zone
(Feb 21) Just days after the 200th anniversary of a series of massive earthquakes in southeast Missouri, residents woke up Tuesday to a rumbling reminder that they live in one of the continent’s most active seismic areas. The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of a magnitude-4.0 earthquake at 3:58 a.m. was located near the town of East Prairie, Mo., roughly midway between St. Louis and Memphis. Several people in five states — Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee — felt the quake, along with scattered people in four others, as far away as North Carolina and Georgia.
The earthquakes on Dec. 16, 1811, and Jan. 23 and Feb. 7, 1812, were among the strongest ever in the U.S., their magnitudes estimated to have ranged from 7.7 to 8.1. Shockwaves spread as far as New York and the force of the temblors reportedly rang church bells in Boston. The Mississippi River reversed flow for a time. Those quakes, like the one on Tuesday, occurred in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, a 150-mile stretch between Memphis and St. Louis that crosses parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee. Experts suggest that the likelihood of a magnitude 6 or greater quake occurring along the New Madrid fault within a half century is somewhere between 28% and 46%. (Source)
(Feb 7) More than 2.3 million people in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee participated in the 2012 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut! In 2011, 3 million people in 11 states participated. (Source)
The 48 states will continue to be riddled by more earthquakes and other natural disasters, such as hail, tornadoes, failing infrastructures, etc. When will things get better? After Armageddon.