The New Madrid Earthquake that hit in 1811 and 1812 was one of the most powerful earthquakes to hit the Midwest in the time that records have been kept. It totally devastated the area in that time, but what would happen today if the New Madrid area came to life today? This question and many others would asked in the History Channel’s Mega Disasters series. The episode was called Mega Disasters: Earthquake in the Heartland. In 1811, there were not that many people living in the area when the quake hit, even though it did enough damage to destroy almost everything and make the mighty Mississippi River flow backwards.
What would happen today if the New Madrid fault came to live today in the area that has been built up and has more people today? The Mega Disasters episode asks whether or not a earthquake could hit again in the heartland. They gave an affirmative if history was any indication. The episode states that the 1811-1812 earthquake that hit was one of the most catastrophic event in the history of the United States that dealt with natural disasters. This fault stretches for more than one hundred and sixty miles long and it is under the Mississippi River basin. It could erupt again at any time or any given moment, with little or no advance warning. Many of the people who lived in this area in 1811, has many problems when it hit. There were many aftershocks in the area that lasted for over three months. Experts are very sure that it could happen again in our time, but the question is when.
If the New Madrid fault came alive today, it would so much worse than it was in 1811. We have more people living in the areas that could be affected, more buildings and other structures have been built. With this potential threat, there would be totally devastation. It would be so much worse than any hurricane or any other natural disaster could inflict. Hundreds, perhaps millions of people would be killed from the earthquake, buildings collapsing, fires that would be started, and so forth. Buildings and structures would be leveled and fires would be out of control. The people that were trained to help those who needed it would be out of their depth as they struggled to help those who needed it or get to those who needed it. A breakdown of civilization would start to happen because help would be slow in coming or not at all. The earthquake that happened here would be felt elsewhere and would also cause more damage.
Scientists have said that we can be prepared for a potential earthquake in this area. We can educate, we can plan ahead, and build better buildings to withstand the quakes. We can do something or nothing at all. We can suffer whatever happens if we do nothing. We can make sure we are prepared if we want to be. If we do something, then we will be prepared and know what we have to do. If we do not, life as we know it will be no more.