The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) encourages everyone to take part in "The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut" earthquake drill on February 7, 2012 at 10:15 a.m. More than two million people in the eight-state Central region are expected to participate. The drill will highlight "Drop, Cover and Hold" protective actions people should take when an earthquake begins. Anyone interested in participating in the drill can register at www.shakeout.org/centralus.
Though most Illinois residents don't think an earthquake can happen here, there is evidence to the contrary. There are two primary "hot spots" for earthquakes in the central United States that will impact Illinois, specifically in the south and southeastern parts of the state.
- New Madrid Seismic Zone lies within the central Mississippi Valley, from Cairo, Illinois, through southeastern Missouri, western Kentucky, western Tennessee and northeast Arkansas. The epicenter of the zone is located just west and northwest of Memphis, Tennessee.
Historically, this area has been the site of some of the largest earthquakes in North America. Between 1811 and 1812, four catastrophic earthquakes with magnitude estimates greater than 7.0 occurred during a three-month period. Hundreds, if not thousands, of aftershocks followed over a period of several years.
- Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, in southeastern Illinois and southwestern Indiana, is capable of producing 'New Madrid' size earthquake events. The epicenter of the zone is located between Mt. Vernon, Illinois, and West Franklin, Indiana (in Posey County).
For more information about the earthquake risk in Illinois and what you can do to stay safe, check out the earthquake section on the IEMA website.
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