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Major earthquake now due for middle America... would unleash mass chaos and kill thousands


(NaturalNews) In November 2012 thousands of National Guard soldiers and personnel from disaster preparedness agencies from Missouri and other states conducted "Operation Vigilant Guard," a large training exercise aimed at responding to a major earthquake along the New Madrid fault line.

According to a press release from the Missouri National Guard public affairs office, "under the exercise scenario, citizen-soldiers and airmen will have to contend?with a number of issues including disrupted public utilities and widespread?infrastructure damage."

Since then smaller exercises have taken place and additional planning and resources lined up. It's all for a very good reason.

As reported by Britain's Express newspaper recently, though many seismologists and geologists remain focused on underground activity in California's San Andreas fault, others are beginning to pay more attention to New Madrid.

Four of the largest quakes in recorded history

The 150-mile long New Madrid Seismic Zone near Missouri's boot heel is becoming a major concern as many believe it is way overdue for a major tremor that is likely to affect seven states – Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Indiana and Mississippi. The seismic zone has not seen significant quakes or tremors for more than 200 years.

The Express reported further:

In the winter of 1811 and 1812 there were three earthquakes of magnitude 7 - as high as 7.7 - and a series of aftershocks across the American Midwest.

The results were catastrophic, with the course of the Mississippi being diverted, chasms ripping open, and volcanoes of sand and water bursting through the ground.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) warned in 1999 there were four natural disasters which threatened the states.

They included major hurricanes hitting Miami and New Orleans, which has recently been rocked by Katrina, and megaquakes hitting Los Angeles, and the central USA.

The zone has had four of the largest earthquakes in recorded history, with all of them occurring within a three-month period between December 1811 and February 1812; Missouri did not become a state until April 1821.

The U.S. Geological Survey, or USGS, has a map of the country with a large pink warning area over the heart of the Midwest. Each year there are hundreds of small tremors within the New Madrid zone, including a 3.5 magnitude quake in May, which many experts saw as a warning sign of bigger quakes to come. Following that activity, the USGS even raised the threat level for New Madrid for 2016, Express reported.

Though the risk of a major tremor in New Madrid is not as well-publicized as the risk of quakes and tremors in California and along the West Coast, transportation officials recently spent $260 million to upgrade and strengthen the I-40 bridge that spans the Mississippi into Memphis, Tenn. Officials now hope that the span – which towers over the river – is strong enough to withstand the anticipated major quakes.

'The thing that makes the river scary is all the industry we have along it'

In addition, officials in Memphis reduced the main hospital by nine floors to limit the risk of a collapse from a major tremor, at an additional cost of $64 million.

In 2009 the Mid-America Earthquake Center at the University of Illinois released a report suggesting that a quake of a magnitude of 7.0 or greater was possible within the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

Amr Elnashai, the study's lead author, wrote, "All hell will break loose." Many experts have said tens of thousands of Americans could die; predictions included the loss of 715,000 buildings – including 130 hospitals – and 3,500 bridges, which would cripple transportation for years.

The report estimated as many as 86,000 deaths with a combined loss of $300 billion in damages.

James Wilkinson, the director of the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium, which is located next to the Memphis international airport, said he is concerned that a major quake could release the Mississippi from a series of levees designed to prevent flooding, which would only add to the damage.

"The thing that, to me, makes the river scary is how much industry we have along it: there's power plants, there's chemical plants, there's ports," he told The Atlantic. "And the river might change course altogether."





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