ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Nearly 202 years ago (February 7, 1812) a massive earthquake struck the New Madrid fault causing widespread destruction.

It had been the third of a series of large earthquakes to shake the region. At that time modern methods of measuring earthquakes were not used, but present-day seismologists believe those quake were around a magnitude 7.5 or 7.7. Making it the largest earthquakes ever recorded in the continental U.S.

Devastation from the earthquakes touched seven states Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas, but it was felt much farther.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey people living on the gulf and Atlantic coasts felt the quakes, along with people living northeast of Quebec, Canada.

Read about the strange happenings during the earthquakes, here.

Steve Besemer with Missouri Emergency Management Agency, says the next big quake is a question of “when, not if.”

February is Earthquake Awareness Month in Missouri.

new madrid The New Madrid Fault: The Last Big Quake

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