Education & Technology Transfer Activities: 2006


Preparing for a Significant Central U.S. Earthquake: Science Needs of the Emergency Response Community



Complete View Report: PDF

Sequential Number


Identification Number


Matching Research Agency

Missouri S&T Continuing Education

Principal Investigator

Neil Anderson, Professor
125 McNutt Hall, Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering
Missouri University of Science & Technology

Rolla, MO 65401

Student Involvement

Students will coauthor papers, attend the workshop and assist in the planning and coordination of the workshop.

Project Objective

To facilitate relevant science in preparation for a significant Central U.S. earthquake, the Missouri University of Science and Technology, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources are hosting a workshop to bring scientists together with the first response community. The workshop will specifically address: 1) existing research that describes what is known about the probability of a significant Central US earthquake; and 2) current monitoring efforts and research.

Project Abstract

The New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones are capable of producing large magnitude earthquakes that could cause significant damage and interrupt the east to west flow of transportation, communication, electricity, natural gas and oil across the central United States.  A large magnitude quake also could disrupt the movement of coal, fertilizer, or agricultural products to and from ports along the middle Mississippi and lower Ohio Rivers as well as disrupt the lives of countless residents of the Central U.S.  The USGS and the Center for Earthquake Research and Information of the University of Memphis estimate that for a 50-year period, the probability of a repeat of the 1811-1812 earthquake (magnitude 7.5-8.0) is 7-10 percent, and the probability of a magnitude 6.0 or larger is 25-40 percent. Unlike earthquakes that occur in southern California, the causes and effects of earthquakes in the central and eastern United States are just beginning to be understood.  In addition, earthquakes in the central and eastern United States tend to affect a much larger area. Consequently, regional collaborations between Federal, State, local and academic partners is essential to coordinate planning and responses.

Task Description


Anticipated Benefits

All presentations will be by invitation. Speaker papers will be published along with a summary of panel session findings in a USGS Circular. The results of this workshop are expected to assess the status of research on earthquakes in the Central U.S. and provide guidance to the scientific community to ensure that relevant products are generated.

Modal Orientation



Project Start Date:11/01/2007
Project End Date:12/31/2008

Relationship to other Research/Projects

Participating Missouri S&T faculty are engaged in a number of externally-funded projects that involve research into earthquake hazards in the central United States.

Technology Transfer Activities

Speaker papers will be published along with a summary of panel session findings in a USGS Circular.


Transportation Research Board Keywords

Earthquake hazards, New Madrid, critical infrastructure, probability