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2 Centuries After New Madrid Quakes, What’s Next?

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Two centuries ago, a series of powerful earthquakes rocked the central Mississippi River valley at what was then the western edge of the young United States.

Now some seismologists believe there could be another “Big One” in the next 50 years along the New Madrid seismic zone stretching between Memphis and St. Louis.

The quakes happened on Dec. 16, 1811, and Jan. 23 and Feb. 7 of 1812. They were among the strongest in U.S. history with magnitudes estimated between 7.7 to 8.1

Seismologists agree that predicting when an earthquake will strike is next to impossible. But some experts think there is a 28 percent to a 46 percent likelihood of a magnitude 6 or greater earthquake occurring around the area in the next 50 years.

Listen to Total Information AM’s interview with Dr. Robert Herrmann of St. Louis University about a possible quake.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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