Monthly Archives: January 2012
The 555-foot-tall Washington Monument, which was damaged during the magnitude 5.8 earthquake August, 2011, has been closed since the earthquake struck the area August 23, 2011. According to this Washington Post article Bob Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks said the National Park Service has awarded a contract for the planning phase of the job. It is expected that the monument will not be fully operational until some time in 2013.
Sinkholes are abundant in our state — when they collapse, the result can be dramatic
Sinkholes are places where there is rapid recharge (replenishing) of groundwater from the surface and, therefore, are areas of potential groundwater contamination. For this reason, managing surface water and waste disposal in sinkhole-prone areas are important to maintaining good groundwater quality.
In 2006, a formerly unidentified sinkhole collapsed below the home of a Nixa resident. Fortunately, no one was injured when the collapse occurred. See these photos by Springfield News-Leader photographers.
A recent article written by Jose Rey (SinkholeReport.com), identifies Missouri as No. 7 in the United States as having the most sinkholes. According to the article, the states with the most sinkholes are Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.
Our environmental geologists apply geologic and hydrologic information to the protection of Missouri citizens and the environment and are regularly called on to provide expertise when sinkholes are reported. The division maintains a database of known sinkholes. Learn more about sinkhole formation. –Joe
Earthquake Awareness Month
Two hundred years ago, Missourians experienced powerful earthquakes in the Bootheel region of the state. Three earthquakes, estimated at magnitude 7.0 or greater occurred along the New Madrid fault in the winter of 1811-12.
Small earthquakes occur in the region daily. While earthquakes along the fault do not cause loss of life, they are a natural hazard that no one can predict. Fortunately, there are things everyone can do to be better prepared.
Each February Missouri observes Earthquake Awareness Month. To raise awareness, geologists with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources will partner with local, state and federal agencies and organizations by participating in a number of public activities by providing scientific data about the New Madrid Seismic Zone, mapping for risk assessment, and geologic information about the basics of earthquakes. Missourians are encouraged to attend any of the following public events. Other venues and activities may be added.
Stop by our booth
The 19th Annual Earthquakes: Mean Business seminar, hosted by St. Louis University will be held Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. Scientists, disaster preparedness and emergency management experts will take part in the seminar focused on disaster preparedness and business continuity planning.
This program is for decision-makers in business and industry, elected government leaders, and others whose interests include earthquake risks, risk management, business continuity, and contingency planning. Information presented is appropriate for anyone interested in earthquakes, earthquake risk and mitigation, emergency management, business continuity, or citizen preparedness. The program will consist of morning presentations, a luncheon seminar and afternoon break-out sessions. Attendees must register in advance. Students and SLU faculty may attend at no cost. and SLU faculty may attend at no cost. General attendee registration is $95. The seminar will be held at St. Louis University, Busch Student Center, 20 N. Grand Blvd., 8:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
We will be there, so be sure to stop by our booth to learn more about the history of earthquakes in Missouri and earthquake potential and the work our staff does to support the others in the scientific scientific community, along with emergency response and business communities, as well as the citizens of Missouri. This seminar is being held during Earthquake Awareness Month in Missouri. Consider attending other events during the month of February and register to participate in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake preparedness exercise to be held Feb. 7. –Joe
A magnitude 7.0 earthquake occurred 200 years ago today
On this day in 1812, the second principal shock of the 1811-1812 sequence of earthquakes (estimated to be magnitude 7.0) occurred along Mississippi Valley of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas, in what is known and the New Madrid Seismic Zone
Because of the absence of equipment to measure shaking, it is difficult to assign intensities to the shocks that occurred 200 years ago, but we do have accounts from those living in the area who characterized the area as having general ground warping, ejections, fissuring, severe landslides, and caving of stream banks.
The first of the three major earthquakes occurred December 16, 1811. This sequence of intense seismic activity lasted more than two months. The largest of the major earthquakes occurred on February 7, 1812 and is estimated to have been a magnitude 7.7. Commonly referred to as the New Madrid earthquakes, geologists estimate that during this period, there were 7-10 earthquakes that had magnitudes greater than 6.0 and approximately 100 earthquakes with magnitudes between 5.0 and 5.9.
February is Earthquake Awareness Month in Missouri. Consider attending educational events during the month of February and register to participate in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake preparedness exercise to be held Feb. 7. –Joe
Events planned for Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012
The Bolduc House Museum in Ste. Genevieve will mark the bicentennial of the 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquakes Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012. From noon to 4 p.m., the museum will offer three presentations to commemorate and educate about the powerful earthquakes that shook the region 200 years ago.
At 1 p.m., Emily Jaycox of the Missouri History Museum Library will present “Aftershocks in the Courtroom: New Madrid Land Claims & the Genealogist.”
Dr. Frank Nickell of Southeast Missouri State’s Center for Regional History will present “The New Madrid Earthquakes in Historical Perspective” at 2 p.m.
Hymns Inspired by the New Madrid Earthquakes will begin at 3 p.m. The songs will be performed by the St. Louis Shape Note Singers.
Suggested donation is $10, which includes regular admission. See the Bolduc House Museum website for additional information. February is Earthquake Awareness Month in Missouri. Consider participating in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake preparedness exercise. Learn more. –Joe
Intensity can vary
The intensity of shaking that is caused by an earthquake can be quite variable and it depends on several factors including: the magnitude of the earthquake, clearly the larger magnitude the earthquake is, the stronger the shaking will be; the distance one is from where the earthquake occurs, it is probably obvious to most that the closer you are to the earthquake, the stronger the shaking; and finally the type of geology underfoot. Different types of soils and bedrock will respond differently to shaking induced by an earthquake.
Generally, areas with thin soils and dense bedrock near the surface experience less shaking as the earthquake energy moves rapidly through the rock and does not amplify the seismic waves. Areas of thick sediment overlying bedrock such as deep floodplain valleys can actually amplify seismic waves as these sediments do not transmit seismic energy effectively. This leads to much more vigorous shaking.
These general geologic conditions are why seismic energy transmits further distances in the central U.S. than it does on the west coast. Due to the extensive bedrock occurrences in the central U.S., seismic energy moves efficiently through the rock and travels greater distances than it does on the west coast in areas of thicker, softer sediments. This is why earthquakes with similar magnitudes will be felt over much greater distances in the central US than on the west coast.
The division conducts geologic mapping in parts of Missouri to better understand earthquake hazards as they relate to geologic materials. February is Earthquake Awareness Month in Missouri. Consider participating in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake preparedness exercise. Learn more. –Joe
Save the Date – Sign up today!
On Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, at 10:15 a.m., thousands of people across at least eight states will participate in the 2012 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake preparedness drill.
Everyone is encouraged to register to participate in the drill, which will highlight “Drop, Cover and Hold On,” and other protective actions people should take during an earthquake. Registered ShakeOut participants will be counted in this earthquake drill and will receive updates about ShakeOut news and information about earthquakes and preparedness. Learn more and register to participate in the ShakeOut.
February is earthquake awareness month in Missouri and we are again partnering with the Central United States Earthquake Consortium, state and federal emergency management agencies, and others to promote awareness and to encourage people to be prepared in the event of an earthquake. Many other government agencies, businesses, organizations, and community groups are also promoting the ShakeOut to their members and constituents.
More than three million people in 11 states practiced “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” last April, as part of the First Annual Great Central U.S. ShakeOut.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of a series three earthquakes believed to have been magnitude 7.0 or larger that occurred near the southeast Missouri town of New Madrid. –Joe
Moon mineral Tranquillityite found in western Australia
Scientists have identified what appears to be a rare mineral previously only known to be found in lunar rock samples. The mineral, tranquillityite, consists of iron, zirconium, yttrium, titanium, silicon and oxygen. It is named after the moon’s Sea of Tranquility, where it was first discovered on the Apollo 11 mission.
According to Birger Rasmussen, Curtin University professor and palaeontologist, tranquillityite is “very useful” for age-dating rocks in which it is found in. Read more. –Joe
Steno’s Law of Superposition
More than 300 years after Danish scientist Nicholas Steno changed the way people thought about the earth, Google artists pay special tribute to the late geologist. Steno was first to reason what became “Steno’s Law of Superposition” in which layers of rock are arranged in a time sequence, with the oldest on the bottom and the youngest on the top, unless later processes disturb this arrangement. Check out the Google Doodle and read more about Steno. Learn about Missouri Geology. –Joe