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Why Is Wal-Mart Preparing For A Major Earthquake On The New Madrid Fault?

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New Madrid Fault ZoneBuried in a Wall Street Journal article from about a week ago was a startling piece of information.  According to a Wal-Mart executive, Wal-Mart “participated in an exercise to prepare for an earthquake on the New Madrid fault line” earlier this summer.  And officials at the U.S. Geological Survey have just released a report which indicates that they believe that the New Madrid fault zone has the “potential for larger and more powerful quakes than previously thought“.  So should we be concerned?  Do they know something that we don’t?  The USGS also says that the frequency of earthquakes in the central and eastern portions of the United States has quintupled over the past 30 years, and that significant earthquakes have started popping up in areas of the country that were once extremely quiet.  Along with the new report, the USGS released the following map…

Earthquake Map

If you look toward the middle of the map, you can see a big red oval over the center of the New Madrid fault zone.

Most Americans don’t realize this, but the most powerful earthquakes in U.S. history did not happen in California.  Rather, they actually occurred along the New Madrid Fault zone in 1811 and 1812.  Documents from that time indicate that those earthquakes were so powerful that they were felt more than 1,000 miles away.

If you are not familiar with it, the New Madrid fault zone covers parts of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi.  If an earthquake similar to the quakes of 1811 and 1812 were to happen today, it would destroy structures all the way up to the Great Lakes and all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.

That is why it is so alarming that Wal-Mart is actively preparing for a major earthquake along the New Madrid Fault.  The following is from the Wall Street Journal article that I mentioned above…

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.

And that Wal-Mart executive is absolutely correct – earthquake activity in the central part of the country is increasing.  In fact, as I mentioned above, it 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.

The USGS has also specifically identified the New Madrid fault zone as an area to watch

The midwest region is preparing for earthquakes that are bigger and more powerful than ever believed imaginable.

The U.S. Geological Survey updated their seismic hazards map last week, and in it, Kentucky is listed as one of 16 states at highest risk of earthquakes.

USGS says the New Madrid Fault, which runs through a number of midwestern states, has been identified as an area that has potential for larger and more powerful quakes than previously thought.

Hopefully it won’t happen any time soon, but a massive earthquake along the New Madrid fault has the potential to be extraordinarily destructive.  One New Madrid earthquake in 1812 was so powerful that it rang church bells up in Boston and toppled chimneys up in Canada

Accounts of the 1812 quake vary since there were no measuring instruments at the time, but most geologists say evidence shows it was at least a magnitude 8 earthquake, and possibly a 9 or higher.

The shaking was so intense that church bells started ringing as far away as Boston and New York.

Chimneys toppled from the Deep South to Canada, and President James Madison was awoken by the violent shaking as he slept in the White House.

Eyewitnesses said it even caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards for a time.

At that time, the New Madrid region was sparsely populated.

But today, tens of millions of people live there, and most buildings have not been built to withstand massive earthquakes.

According to ABC News, a study by the Mid-America Earthquake Center discovered that even a magnitude 7.7 earthquake would cause incredible amounts of damage.  The study concluded that “nearly 750,000 buildings would be damaged, 3,000 bridges would potentially collapse, 400,000 breaks and leaks to local pipelines and $300 billion in direct damage and $600 billion in indirect losses would occur.”

So what would a magnitude 8 or a magnitude 9 earthquake look like?

And most people don’t realize that there are 15 nuclear reactors along the New Madrid fault zone.  In the event of a major earthquake, we could have multiple “Fukushimas” all going on at the same time.

Let us hope that it is a very long time before a disaster such as this strikes.

But as I mentioned above, earthquake activity in the central part of the country has increased dramatically in recent years.

And Wal-Mart is so concerned that it actually participated “in an exercise to prepare for an earthquake on the New Madrid fault line” just a few weeks ago.

So let us hope for the best, but let us also not be blind to the warnings signs all around us.

  • Abigail

    This is quite troubling. I live in Fredericktown, Missouri. I am in the red zone. If you drive across US Hwy 60 between Poplar Bluff and Sikeston, you will notice something interesting. The bootheel of Missouri is extremely flat. During this drive, a person can see a ridge about ten feet tall stretching across farmers’ fields as far as the eye can see. The ridge runs north to south, and I was told it was caused by the New Madrid Earthquakes in 1811 and 1812. It makes a person feel quite powerless to see it–that the ground, the whole earth beneath you, can buckle like that.

    • blue

      My sister lives next to that ridge in Kennet…

    • HecatesMoon

      I’m not too far off from you. I’m north a little bit from Cape Girardeau.

  • The Mutt

    15 nuclear reactors going off in the New Madrid earthquake That’s horble. I hope it never happens.

    • Flee Babylon

      That’s the catastrophic wildcard in any major natural event, nuclear failures. Talk about TSHTF. I would not want to be downwind as that would be a literal death sentence. Thankfully, I am more towards Springfield MO, so I’m not downwind of the New Madrid by typical weather patterns.

  • Cyan

    I’d say, all the more reason to be prepared. I’ve never given much thought about a nuclear disaster, but since I’m located to the NE of this area I’ll be adding additional preps to our kits. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Tom S

    Whether an earthquake, super storm (Katrina, Sandy), lone gunman, terrorist act, or medical emergency, the cause does not matter much. The aftermath is what I prepare for. Disruption of availability and increasing prices are why a prep for a reasonable period must be part of our lifestyle.

    • Dexter

      remember preppers are terrorist in our governments eyes , I would put that in writing to much…lol

    • laura m.

      Exactly, agree 100% since I’ve been thru hurricanes and friends have been thru medi. emerg., storms, etc. so everyone should prep. it’s common sense.

  • Ranger

    How can we even prepare for the aftermath of an event like this, when if I have:
    More than 7 days of food stored
    Bottled Water stored
    a First Aid kit stored
    Flashlights and Batteries stored
    Cash stored
    Gold or Silver stored
    Guns and Ammo stored
    to help others in need of first aid from cuts/lacerations, or feed the people in need, or give water to the people in need, of help search and rescue survivors??
    When I will be immediately labeled as a terrorist by the very list of things (as listed above and there are more), that the Department of Homeland Security Agency has listed that describe a “terrorist”!!

    Great job those creatures of the public have done continuing to put in the drivers seat these crazy lunatics to protect them!

    This will not be a “Natural” disaster.

    • K

      Ranger, anybody who is a decent human being. Or has ever thought for themselves. Is already on their lists. I know I am. In my case I consider it a badge of honor.

      • Ranger

        Yeah isn’t the for sure!
        I know I am too!!

  • Luke Hildebrand

    What really matters is the state of your heart. Do you know the Lord?
    Are you ready to begin eternity in the spiritual realm?
    This flesh and blood existence is just the beginning

    • jimmy2

      Oh can the religious crap already. We’re discussing earthquakes, not your imaginary friends.

  • Alleged Comment

    Of course they are worried otherwise they woudn’t be doing it right? So something told them data has indicated a change to severe not to notice.

  • Bryan

    Does Jesus live in your heart? have you trusted him for the forgiveness of your sins? For there is only one mediator between God and men and that is the man Christ Jesus. the soul that sins shall surely die. All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God, and the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life IN CHRIST JESUS our Lord. For if you confess with your Mouth Jesus is Lord and BELIEVE in your heart God raised him from the dead you shall be saved. For it is with the mouth confession is made unto salvation, and with the HEART one believes unto righteousness. what will a man give in exchange for his sould Jesus said what are you holding on to here that will keep you from spending eternity with God Elohim Jehova, Jesus Christ He loves the world so much he sent his only begotten Son to die on the cross and that whomsoever shall believeith in him SHALL NOT PERISH but have evelasting life. if you are not IN CHRIST the wrath of God abides upon you because of your sin, That’s why He who knew no sin became sin for us that through him we may become the righteousness of God. He knocks at the door of your heart shall you shut it forever he won’t forces his way in you must invite him yourself. DON’T WAIT LONG TIME IS GETTING SHORTER BY THE DAY!

    • jim

      Its PREDESTINATION. those who aren’t can try all they want but it does no good

  • Community College Student

    The map also says that there’s a high risk area in Russia. Did not know that.

    • Community College Student

      Oops, sorry Alaska, I guess I messed that up because Alaska used to be part of Russia.

  • Oldphartbsa

    Pfft, I live less than 20 miles from the San Andreas…when your bell gets rung, mine’s going to shatter.

  • PropheticExplorer

    Nothing will stop God’s wrath prophesied in scripture. America will burn.

  • Ed

    From the storey if it happens many will die from the quake and from some of the comments the rest will die from Americans shooting each other. The Russians and Americans did studies decades ago on this phenomena. After all this possibly takes place a foreign power would then have to recolonize the uninhabited land with no resistance.
    There’s almost no talk of Americans working together to rebuild the nation after such a disaster, just an eagerness to “blow” each other away.

  • donna

    so they are preparing ? so what; if there is an earthquake everyone will be screaming about lack of it. Sounds like good sense to me. There is really nowhere on planet that is not “environmentally fragile” for one reason or another. Quakes, nor easters, hurricanes, tornadoes. Get a grip this is part of life.

    • Armel

      There is an earthquake coming….and there is much that you can do to prepare for it, in advance, to make sure you and your property don’t bear the brunt of the motion on the New Madrid Fault line…because of the basic thermodynamic laws, all of the hydraulic fracturing and drilling for oil and natural gas reserves is, metaphorically speaking, prodding the sleeping giant. At some point, there is going to be a shift in the plates that is not controllable and is transferred to the surface in the form of a massive earthquake. And when that happens, fires generally take place, because of all of the ruptured gas lines. It’s not going to be pretty when it happens…and for people positioned near nuclear reactors, the threat is more than tangible….There are so many reactor sites along the Madrid Fault line, and I don’t think they could, if they started now, take all of that down, logistically. (There would be too much waste material to move around, and at that point, it’s an environmental disaster regardless).

      • donna

        i agree and prep is all that can be done. I had read that building codes in SF are very stringent for this reason and expectation is that damage would be minimized. I did not know nuclear reactors were around fault line in midwest. I had also read that technology to have prevented the outcome at Fukushima existed but was not installed due to cost considerations. I believe the french handle these issues correctly.

  • Armel

    Great article, Michael!!!

  • Armel

    Great article! It’s coming….Matt Drudge knows too…