Although this is a blog about mineralogy, as it – and I – are based in Missouri, I couldn’t resist posting a link to this article from the Carthage Press, February is Earthquake Awareness Month in Missouri, because it made me smile for a moment.
Typically, when thinking of the more earthquake-prone states in the United States, Missouri does not come to mind. But nearly two hundred years ago, beginning on 11 December 1811 and continuing through 7 February 1812, several of the most vigorous earthquakes recorded in the young United States struck in the New Madrid area of southeastern Missouri and northern Arkansas. It was so vigorous that the Mississippi River appeared to flow backwards, according to eyewitness reports. New Madrid itself was destroyed in the final quake, St. Louis suffered substantial damage, and church bells were said to ring as far away as Boston, Massachussetts and York, Ontario.
For more information, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has additional information here. There are also multiple books on the history of the quakes, On Shaky Ground: the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-12, and The New Madrid Earthquakes among them. It’s a fascinating topic in early American – and in geological – history. Additionally, the city of New Madrid, Missouri has a website to visit as well. Enjoy!