Tennessee Struck By The Largest Earthquake In 45 Years

by | Dec 14, 2018 | Headline News | 38 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    This article was originally published by Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge

    In recent months, there have been massive earthquakes in Venezuela, Fiji, Italy and elsewhere. Here in North America, significant quakes have rattled Oregon, Alaska and the west coast of Mexico.

    While the West Coast is notorious for its earthquakes, other portions of the US are also earthquake-prone.

    Two earthquakes reported Wednesday morning in Eastern Tennessee have shocked Middle Tennesseans and were felt in Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

    The 4.4 and 3.3 magnitude quakes had an epicenter near Decatur, Tennessee in Meigs County did no significant damage, but the fear is when will the next massive quake strike.

    “A 4.4 magnitude earthquake is a reminder for people to be prepared,” said John Bobel, a public information officer for the division of emergency management in Kentucky’s Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government.

    Middle Tennessee sits between two different seismic zones, the New Madrid Seismic Zone and the East Tennessee Seismic Zone. The New Madrid Seismic Zone extends from Northeastern Arkansas into West Tennessee, Southeastern Missouri, Western Kentucky, and Southern Illinois. The East Tennessee Seismic Zone extends from Northeastern Alabama into Southwestern Virginia.

    Scientists have said that the New Madrid Seismic Zone and the East Tennessee Seismic Zone have unleashed major earthquakes for thousands of years:

    “On Dec. 16, 1811, the first of three major earthquakes and numerous aftershocks struck what is now known as the New Madrid Seismic Zone, a series of faults that stretch 150 miles from Cairo, Illinois, to Marked Tree, Arkansas.

    Today the zone threatens Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. That’s a different set of faults than Wednesday’s quake in the East Tennessee Seismic Zone.

    Back in 1811, New Madrid, Missouri, itself had only 400 people, St. Louis to the north had about 1,500 residents and Memphis to the south wasn’t even a twinkle in its founders’ eyes, according to the Central United States Earthquake Consortium. Damage was reported as far away as Charleston, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia; and the quakes, estimated at 7.5 to 7.7 magnitude, were felt more than 1,000 miles away in Connecticut.”

    According to TransRe, an international reinsurance organization, there are more than 11 million people living in the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

    “The big thing we prepare for is with New Madrid,” Bobel said.

    “Depending on the significance of an earthquake, Memphis, Tennessee, would be gone; St. Louis would be wrecked.”

    The Louisville Courier-Journal said the New Madrid quakes of 1811 and 1812 were almost 2,000 times more powerful than Wednesday’s 4.4 shockwaves and released almost 90,000 times more energy, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s earthquake calculator.

    It is not a matter of if, but when the big quake strikes. The damage in the fault zone area could be devastating: “Anything west of I-65, infrastructure would be severely damaged,” Bobel said of the interstate that bisects Kentucky and Tennessee. “The ground could even liquify and turn to mud,” which happened in 1811 and 1812.

    The America Earthquake Center at the University of Illinois estimated that in 2008, a 7.7 magnitude quake along the New Madrid Fault could trigger widespread damage:

    “250,000 buildings moderately or severely damaged, more than 260,000 people displaced, significantly more than 60,000 injuries and fatalities, total direct economic losses surpassing $56 billion, $64 billion today when adjusted for inflation. Kentucky would have the next most significant damage, totaling $45 billion, $52 billion today.” 

    Depending on where the exact epicenter of the quake is, “areas within the NMSZ would experience widespread and catastrophic physical damage, negative social impacts, and economic losses,” the Federal Emergency Management Agency said in 2008.

    Seismologists warned that the New Madrid Seismic Zone has a 25% to 40% chance of producing the next big quake within the next five decades, according to Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government.


    It Took 22 Years to Get to This Point

    Gold has been the right asset with which to save your funds in this millennium that began 23 years ago.

    Free Exclusive Report
    The inevitable Breakout – The two w’s

      Related Articles


      Join the conversation!

      It’s 100% free and your personal information will never be sold or shared online.


      1. Western TN, perhaps?

        • No, it was in the Eastern part. The map shown is of the New Madrid fault area. It threw me at first, too.

      2. If it isn’t significant to make it on Drudge, it isn’t significant enough to pay any attention to.

      3. And the heavens rumbled again…”G*d dammit, MISSED again….I’m better off throwing rocks at my ant farm”….

        • “Ill fix this yet. I KNOW my volcanoes are working, just gotta turn up the heat a little, and we will cook them there little pink monkeys…or else I will have to drop a kitchen sink on em to get their attention n prayers n sh*t..”

          • You need to throw some human sacrifices into the volcanoes! Round up some liberals and tell them there is free starbucks down in it!

            • Genius, get Robert Mueller and his team and tell them there’s “Russian collusion” down in it, LOL.

      4. http://www.uky.edu/KGS/geologichazards/eqinky.htm
        Reagarding the soil liquifaction in Western KY in the 1811 New Mardid Earthquake, only the western borderlands had an eight on the Mercalli Intensity Scale with the vast majority having a seven which only damaged poorly designed buildings.

        The general misunderstanding is due to people seeing a broad overview map of the affected seismic area and falsely concluding equivalent damage of soil liquifaction.

        However, the problems were due to the altering of the river as it actually reversed direction for a time and formed Reelfoot Lake. Now you can imagine THAT causing lots of damage with flooding in low lying regions.

        Think of an impact from say an artillery shell or aerial bombardment. The impact zone has the brunt of the effect but as the force is dispursed, it drops off and merely shakes violently.

        • Look at the link and see what Memphis, Tennessee faced in history. That on the Mercalli scale was a disasterous place to be in 1811-1812 ie X or XI.

      5. Was gonna add it to JJ’s pvc thread but forgot
        Anyway this might be a good time to put an earthquake strap on your water heater

      6. I talked to the family in GA last night. They all felt the quake to some degree but no damage to any of the homes or outbuildings and everyone is OK. Just having nerves rattled is all. My cousin told everything at the BOL is fine. As far as quakes go it looks like I’ve jumped out of one frying pan into another. Oh well. The BOL will still be my new home eventually, quake or no quake. All of that land where the family is located has been in the family ever since colonial times. No one will even consider selling anything. It is what it is. Whatever’s gonna happen will just happen. We’ll deal with it when the time comes.

        • D.R.

          As I’ve said time and again, destruction from earthquakes is exaggerated in news and movies.

          If you decide to put a new building up, look into making it earthquake safe. At least that way you will be assured of a roof over your head in the event of a serious high magnitude quake.

          Secure bookshelves to walls, and if you have shelves stocked put a board across especially for glass. Remove heavy items that could fall on someone’s head, and put them further down, or secure them.

          Glad to hear you are OK.


          • D.R.

            If you buy a box of canning jars, cut the plastic cover at the rim of the box. This will give you a plastic cover for the box which makes an excellent storage box for you after the jars have been filled. The jars have a cardboard barrier between them so that in an earthquake they can not bang against each other and break. You could even tape the plastic cover on top to keep dust and bugs from settling in around the jars.


            • Yuuup, that’s we store our beverages of choice. They need ta make a cupholder in the shape of a quart jar fer muh truck lol. And wheer the hell is Tennessee? 😉

      7. Felt the 4.4 here in East-Tennessee a little after 4:00am. Woke me up, thought one of the kids had hit the bed.Two earthquakes in East-Tennessee in a week is not normal!

        • Best get ready to R-u-n-n-o-f-t.

      8. Note: There’s NOTHING said about the TVA System OR the nuclear power plants along the Tennessee River, as well as down the Mississippi River where the displaced water from the TVA System would go. It may not require the full force of the New Madrid seismic zone shift to set all this in motion, as increasingly intense weather could achieve that. But the weight of all that displaced water and debris rolling across that zone WOULD likely SET IT OFF.

      9. Guess everyone down there will just have to sweat it out over the NEXT FIFTY YEARS.

        • They should have been sweating it out for the LAST 50 YEARS too!

          • Genius, people in my region have been “sweating it out” ever since the last quakes in 1811-1812. Whatever’s gonna happen will just happen. Deal with it the best we can.

      10. Reper Sleeper, you gotta get to the bridge before you can cross it.

      11. Yeah I thought I was safe from the Madrid being in Kansas till I realized I have nuclear powerplants that could be affected and are close enough to wipe me out. Hard telling what king of damage could be caused if the plants fail. Our very own fukishima right in the center of the US. Id love to see how the MSM could spin that one.

      12. Felt it here in North GA. Sounded like someone slammed a basement door.

      13. Housing and buildings in Earth prone areas are reinforced to reduce the possibility of people being injured and provide some possibility that the building will survive.
        I don’t get the idea that the areas mentioned in the post have Buildings built to withstand earthquakes. That means a lot of damage and personal injuries. Things like brick homes or Facades are generally forbidden on the west coast. We bolt the building firmly to the foundation. Tanks are secured with strapping, chains or bolted down so they will stay in place. Shelves are secured etc, etc.
        You mid-west guys get hit with anything close to what we routinely get hit with, you will be hurting. My island is till reinforcing bridges broken from 12 years ago M6.7 severe rated earthquake. Batten down!

        • Surf the tsunami Danno! 😛

        • Kinda. If you read the reports from 1811-1812 concerning the New Madrid, what they most mention are cracked chimneys. That could be bad especially if it happened in winter but not an insurmountable issue.

          Now the cities are a different story, but in the rural regions, based upon the intensity that previously happened, once it gets past the outermost edges of the western borderlands of Kentucky, it significantly dropped off in damage to routine buildings.

          That information is embedded in the Kentucky link of the Mercalli Intensity Scale. A seven on that scale is minor and that was the routine assessment for most of Western KY.

        • ht tps://youtu.be/zFIWWM0Iv-U

           The existence of extremophiles has led to the speculation that microorganisms could survive the harsh conditions of extraterrestrial environments and be used as model organisms to understand the fate of biological systems in these environment…if one was of the mindset to start playing the role of God.
          The only problem is while sometimes the microorganism may weaken, they can also increase in their disease-causing potency.
          I guess fkning this planet up has become scientifically platitudeinous .
          yep the science community has their share of psychopaths too.?HAHAHAHAHA
          Sorry im just hanging out around here waiting for the next article.?

      14. to date, there are now 2 earthquake resistant buildings in Memphis, TN………………….2………over 1,000,000 people in the Memphis area are f#cked if there an earthquake here….and I40 is closed for 6 months….at least

        • Nope, you left out I-55. We have 2 bridges that cross “Ol’ Man River” here. The I-55 bridge along with 2 railroad bridges next to it are at least 100 years old. The I-40 bridge was built back in the 70s and opened up in 1980. Over the last 3 years AR DOT and TN DOT have been working on all those bridges reinforcing them to give them some better chance of survival. No one will know exactly how bad it will be until it hits. As I said to Genius we’ve been sweating it out ever since the last quakes over 200 years ago and we’ll keep on doing so until it hits. By the time it hits I’ll already be relocated to GA so I’ll be better off.

      15. Transportation, pipelines, and communication networks pass through the New Madrid area. Major earthquakes mean major disruptions especially for the Northeast. The seismic events are cyclical with two hundred years being a major cycle. They are tied to solar cycles. John Casey’s book “Upheaval” explains it better. The probability of major disruptions is greater in the next decade.

      16. The graphic used shows Western TN. The earthquake was on the other side of the state.

      17. I was told by an earthquake expert and disaster relief coordinator that various bridges might hold in the case of a New Madrid earthquake similar to intensity to 1811-1812 including the cumulative aftershocks. The problem would primarily be the roads leading up to the bridges are not made with the same standards. The bridges might stand albeit not intact, but it’s irrelevant as there is no way to get to them. He said it with gallows humor.

        Again, why are bridges necessary? Typically they cross rivers and these are low lying areas that are more prone to issues with earthquakes as I wrote earlier as the river crest can dramatically change over an intense period of seismic activity and even be forever altered.

        Imagine the post-transportation issues and effect on the supply chain if trucking, railroads, and river barge traffic are interrupted. Rural infrastructure may be largely intact save for chimmney issues in a Mercalli intensity rating of seven, but if you are in an eight, you are talking far more serious effects. Nine and above can have deadly effects but are far closer to the epicenter.

        One of the concerns was the structural support for fire stations as the doorways open to allow engines to enter and exit. Thus that side of the structure might collapse. Additionally expect water interuptions from broken mains meaning an impossibility to extinguish fires.

        One of the potential concerns is broken natural gas line within homes but also how it is distributed. Check a local map and natural gas lines are sometimes illustrated. Expect that some aspect of it might ignite or worse during an earthquake.

        Earthquake and fire go hand-in-hand. The aftershocks will continue and degrade whatever initial damage occurs to structural integrity.

      18. https://www.nature.com/articles/srep13084
        Near the southern border of western Kentucky, there is a band of counties with higher than normal potential radon release. Radon is a radioactive gas and people in those zones know to test homes before purchasing them for risk assessment. Other states have similar issues like Alaska. Kentucky has far less than many states west of the Mississippi River particularly northern states

        Prior to major seismic activity, some shifting occurs in the tectonic plates and some researchers have correlated a measurable radon release prior to an earthquake.Thus it’s a red flag as a harbinger of doom and potentially could be used in early evacuations although this is not widely known.

        Check your state seismic websites and known testing for radon activity.

        Here is a link to state radon maps.

        The worst states are North Dakota and Iowa.

        Another early warning but rare are earthquake lights which are irridescent lights in a cluster appearing in the clouds that possibly are caused by a piezzoelectric effect with heavy seismic activity.

        • Thank you for your persistence in conveying actual information despite the offhand responses of many here. I live in the Juan de Fuca subduction zone (see cascadian.orgfree.com) and there is a deep diagonal fault that links this area, Yellowstone and New Madrid. We just had Alaska, then a healthy bounce off the southern end of Vancouver Island, and now this. Other patterning to watch for can be the irregular behavior of animals and the unusual appearance or disappearance of water.

          We just did four days with the power out, which happens nearly every year, but it’s a good reminder of our dependency on external systems for light, heat, transportation and communication.

      19. God smiting Planet Earth’s Predator – ZOG USSA

        But this is just the ‘Opening Act’ – Yellowstone will be the Main Event.

        Enjoy “The Show”

      20. You people need to understand something about this Tyler Durden guy. I used to like his writings– he writes about our Constitutional rights a lot, which I appreciate. However, when it comes to the weather, the guy is full of sh—!!

        He reported 11 inches of snow in the mountains of North Carolina, said it was going to be the worst snow blizzard in a century- said he didn’t thing the people in the the Carolina’s could deal with the enormous amount of snow that was coming!!

        I stocked up on several days’ worth of food and what we got was 2 inches!!! 2 inches of snow!! And he was reporting 11 inches in the mountains of North Carolina/ Asheville… It was a f… lie!! I live here. We got a pinch of snow on the first day of “the storm” and 2 inches the second day. THAT’S ALL!!

        As for the earthquakes, I HAVE BEEN EXPECTING IT!! However, here again, the guy is full of sh– because we have NOT HAD NO EARTHQUAKES HERE!! I’m not saying it won’t happen. I have been feeling it would occur. But it DID NOT HAPPEN! The guy is a total liar when it comes to the weather/ environment!!!!!

      Commenting Policy:

      Some comments on this web site are automatically moderated through our Spam protection systems. Please be patient if your comment isn’t immediately available. We’re not trying to censor you, the system just wants to make sure you’re not a robot posting random spam.

      This website thrives because of its community. While we support lively debates and understand that people get excited, frustrated or angry at times, we ask that the conversation remain civil. Racism, to include any religious affiliation, will not be tolerated on this site, including the disparagement of people in the comments section.