ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – An earthquake expert at St. Louis University says he worries more about getting killed in a car crash than a major earthquake. SLU Geophysics Professor Bob Herman says the magnitude 7 quakes that struck in New Madrid two hundred years ago would cause serious damage here now.

“If there were a big, big one like 1811, 1812, there would be significant damage. We know that, any of the older buildings, the masonry buildings, because we know that there were observations in 1811, 1812 that buildings were damaged in St. Charles,” he says.

Herman says in the next twenty years there will likely be quakes along the New Madrid Fault line in the magnitude 4 to 5 range, which would not be so bad here. In 1811 and 1812, a series of magnitude 7 quakes at New Madrid made the Mississippi River flow backwards and rang church bells in Philadelphia.

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