Rock and Roll: The New Madrid Fault System Part VII: Comparisons By Stephanie Osborn

Rock and Roll: The New Madrid Fault System Part VII: Comparisons By Stephanie Osborn

Excerpted from Rock and Roll: The New Madrid Fault System, ©2017

By Stephanie Osborn

Images in this article are public domain, unless otherwise specified.

This whole collection of writings started off with an email exchange, months ago. Our illustrious hostess was part of the discussion, and expressed interest in my converting the info to one or more blog articles. Then, when the LibertyCon programmers heard about it, they asked me to give a presentation on same, which I did.

The presentation was a full house, and at the end, there was a request for me to convert it to blogs and/or an ebook. I asked how many would like to see an ebook of the material; virtually every hand in the lecture hall went up.

A little over a month later, with additional research under my belt and factored into the manuscript, the book has gone live. And as promised, I am providing Sarah a series of blog articles on the subject. This series of blog articles is only a small fraction of the material contained in the ebook; it may be considered in the nature of a series of informative abstracts of the information contained therein. For additional information, may I recommend that you check out Rock and Roll: The New Madrid Fault System.

Part VII: Comparisons — New Madrid versus San Andreas

san andreas

[An aerial view of a portion of the San Andreas main fault.]


[An aerial view of part of the central Mississippi River region,

depicting no sign of a fault.]

The two fault systems produce quakes reasonably comparable in magnitude. The biggest quakes on both systems can range from ~7.0 on the Richter scale up to around 9.0. The frequency of occurrence of “big ones” on the San Andreas is shorter, however; a few decades on the San Andreas vs a few centuries on the New Madrid, on average.

The length of the San Andreas main fault is greater; the San Andreas is ~800mi long, while the New Madrid main fault/graben is ~150mi long.


[California map, left, courtesy USGS, public domain.
New Madrid map, right, courtesy]

BUT the New Madrid affects a vastly larger area, some 10x larger than the Great San Francisco quake, and even 2-3x as large as the 1964 Alaska quake!

alaska quake

[A comparison of affected areas from comparable-sized quakes

on the San Andreas and the New Madrid faults]

Why the difference? The underlying geology is very different, and that proves to tell the tale.

The San Andreas lies in an area of consolidated rock. This rock is shallow, broken, and hot. (There has been—and in many areas continues to be—active volcanism in the region.)

Therefore the rock strata of the region have high energy attenuation—the quake energy dissipates rapidly with increasing distance from the epicenter.

The New Madrid lies under literal miles of unconsolidated (loose, uncompacted; not stone), waterlogged sediment. Unconsolidated sediment tends to amplify wave motion. And then there are the rocks in which the actual fault(s) is/are found.

The rocks here are deep, relatively hard, solid and intact, and cold. (What volcanism occurred in the region occurred in the ancient geologic past, and all volcanos in the area are long since extinct, most worn down to nothing recognizable as a volcano.)

Therefore the underlying geology around the New Madrid system not only tends NOT to damp out the quake waves, but the unconsolidated sediment overlay AMPLIFIES them.

When is the next “Big One” in the New Madrid Seismic Zone?

Geologists look for signs of earthquakes in older strata to determine the frequency of major quakes. By dating the strata using found human artifacts, fossils of animals and plants, carbon-14, etc., it is possible to roughly date the objects/structures contained within a given stratum. A quick averaging of the dates yields a reasonable frequency of occurrence.


According to CERI, the Center for Earthquake Research and Information at the University of Memphis (working in conjunction with the USGS), the periodicity of major quakes/swarms on the New Madrid system is roughly one swarm every ~500 years.

500 years


Note the lack of anything resembling a fault.]

So…when is the next Big One due?


  • There is a 7-10% of a mag7+ quake in the next 50 yrs.;
  • There is a 25-40% of a mag 6+ quake in the next 50 yrs.

What To Do?

Prepare as you would for any natural disaster—a tornado, a hurricane, etc.

Assume that the infrastructure may be down for a considerable time (several weeks) and plan for it. Do not assume you will have access to electricity or other power sources, or cable, internet, and phone lines. Even cell phone towers may be down.

Keep plenty of bottled water on hand, and/or a means of filtering/purifying water from local sources. Store nonperishable foodstuffs sufficient for a couple of weeks (up to a month) per person, in an area easily accessible after a quake. (Basements are not a good idea for this.) If you need medications, ensure you keep at least one month’s supply available.

Ensure you have a means of heating and cooking in the winter, and fuel.


Check your city or county building codes to determine if your home was built to withstand a major temblor. If it doesn’t, look into the possibility of retrofitting your home.

If you are preparing to purchase or build a house, take these things into account: of normal foundation types, a slab foundation withstands quake movement best, because it tends to “surf” the waves. Wood-frame houses fare better than masonry structures, as does welded steel frame. Incorporate earthquake dampeners into your foundation, especially if you live near the central Mississippi River.

Unlike many natural disaster events, faults don’t change locations. If you live in the eastern USA and Canada, you need to be aware of this threat. There is every indication that this fault system has an ongoing lineage of major, destructive quakes, and when it finally releases another “big one,” you WILL know it.

Be ready.

To obtain a copy of Rock and Roll: The New Madrid Fault System by Stephanie Osborn, go to:

143 thoughts on “Rock and Roll: The New Madrid Fault System Part VII: Comparisons By Stephanie Osborn

  1. I think I am moving further north, closer to the Canadian Shield. That way I only have to worry about the coming ice age…..

    1. Alas, that too brings a bit of shake rattle and roll. Just north of here is the Menominee Crack (on phone or I’d link it in wiki) that opened in part due to the crust movement as we really to the retreat of the last ice load.
      See, global warming can cause earthquakes!
      We can expect some when the ice returns, as well . . . those though should be damped somewhat and will be of least concern

      1. Bonus parts for the Canadian Shield is that the bedrock is closer, and it’s more stable with less sediment build up. Of course there are other issues to think about like septic tank problems and building gardens….
        Been thinking about how to do that stuff.
        As to quakes, I have felt a few that far north. Mostly from the laurentian ranges or other parts. Just enough to get your attention. Watching other people panicking though is worth the price of admission. 🙂

          1. I think part of the problem there is that fracking is taking place in areas that are already faulted, such as the Oklahoma Aulacogen, and they don’t know about the aulacogen and assume it is the fracking.

            A variant on fracking was actually attempted years ago (before it was used for oil etc.) in an attempt to ‘grease the skids’ for known stressed faults. The geologists hoped it would get the faults to slide in increments rather than in a big badaboom. It didn’t work. Which is why I’m a tad bit skeptical about the whole “fracking causes quakes” thing.

            1. The current going theory is that it’s the waste water injection sites, and that they are ‘greasing’ the existing fault structures. (I’m in Oklahoma, it’s a bit of an inescapable subject.) I’m not so sure that they’re right, but earthquakes are not really my specialty. We’ve had a couple of different presentations on the topic as well as some lively debate on how deep disposal wells are going what fracture zones are connected to which in depth, and relative stress fields and direction of slip all over the place.

              Interesting paper on the interplay between elements:
              Chen, X., N. Nakata, C. Pennington*, J. Haffener*, J. C. Chang, X. He, Z. Zhan, S. Ni, and J. I. Walter (2017), the Pawnee earthquake as a result of the interplay among injection, faults, and foreshocks, Scientific Reports, accepted.

              I couldn’t find the article itself online, but she came and talked to our professional society.

              This is another one of her papers on the topic that seems to be entirely online (Free!)

              The primary evidence of waste water injection involvement seems to be timing, but I’m not sure they exert enough pressure to actually cause slippage. The article I couldn’t link; however, indicates that slippages seem to directly cascade (and can actually add energy to the next thing to slip.)


              1. Well, that’s my point, though. They tried a version of it (injecting various lubricating fluids) in order to try to generate ‘creep’ on various faults, with no real success. Not as in, “we still got quakes,” but as in, “the fault didn’t move.” So I have a hard time believing that they are creating accidental quakes by a similar process when they tried hard to get faults to move and couldn’t.

                There are other reasons why it might create a quake; a void collapse or the like. But those aren’t going to be dangerous in the same way a fault quake is, because the size potential isn’t there. And given, as I said, that there are faults in the area anyway that most people don’t know about, how certain are we of the origins of said quakes? I’m willing to be convinced. But I’m not right now.

                1. But the idea that fracking engenders quakes just makes so much sense, it seems intuitively certain (as Scott Adams might persuade.) Correlation equals causation in the human brain.

                  And so many of these people have such direct personal knowledge of the effects of injecting materials into …

                  Sorry – didn’t mean to start an discussion over plastic surgeries. Wouldn’t be prudent. Don’t need to go there.

  2. Ensure you have a means of heating and cooking in the winter, and fuel.

    Do not count on being able to use an indoor fireplace … chimneys can be damaged, and that could lead to tragic results.

    1. When the bad ice storms hit a few years ago, and shut down the power for areas for a while, my cousin in Kentucky set up an outdoor kitchen and cooked with Dutch ovens for a lot of neighbors. Gave lessons in how to do it to any interested.

      1. I see, the thing to do is to make friends with any local reenactors who specialize in colonial –> frontier skills …

        1. This is also where understanding how to camp is a good thing, too. It may not be fun to live in a tent, but after a disaster, who knows what you’re going to have to do?

  3. How timely — the local fish wrap (useful for disposing of all caught carp) e-edition reports …

    Most significant earthquake in decades shakes Virginia border with W. Virginia
    ROANOKE, Va. — Parts of the New River Valley were shaken by an earthquake Wednesday that started shortly after 1:30 p.m.

    People from seven states, including North Carolina, reported feeling the quake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The North Carolina reports came from Mount Airy, Walnut Cove and West Jefferson.

    A Virginia Tech seismograph showed the epicenter just over the state line in West Virginia with a magnitude between 3.7 and 4.0. That’s a big enough earthquake to make it the largest in the area since 1968, said Martin Chapman, the director of the Virginia Tech Seismological Observatory.

    The earthquake was felt by people across the New River Valley. Near its epicenter, the quake was loud and shook the earth dramatically, witnesses said.

    “It was like an explosion went off,” said Roger Jones, town manager of Rich Creek, a Giles County town northwest of Pearisburg. The area is about an hour west of Roanoke and about 150 miles north of Greensboro.


    The last measurable earthquake in the area was in May. That one was a 2.8 magnitude quake with an epicenter near Narrows, it was 10 times smaller than Wednesday’s.

    The quakes are part of what’s known as the Giles County seismic zone, an area of fault lines that surrounds the New River.

    The Giles County seismic zone is relatively active but its quakes are not often at a level that can be felt. Between the mid-1970s until the late 1990s, Virginia Tech researchers measured between one or two quakes per month. Chapman of Tech said earlier this year that the quakes have become less frequent in the last two decades.

    Both quakes were less intense than the “big one” that hit Pearisburg on May 31, 1897. That quake still registers as one of the strongest known quakes in the Southeast. It cracked the mortar of the Giles County courthouse, derailed a train engine and several cars and knocked several chimneys to the ground.

    The day after, The Roanoke Times reported that damage was minimal but “it succeeded in scaring a great many people nearly out of their wits.”

    1. For the record, down here in Greensboro I was conscious and noticed nothing (a circumstance I have been advised represents normal, especially when I am reading.)

        1. I’m working on my project. Irving had a 2.6 earthquake this morning 9/14/17. It was the 2nd earthquake in less than a month in Irving. The epicenter was in Las Colinas. Will be doing research at SMU.

  4. Possibly of interest — There was a minor quake Wednesday, the first section from an ABC news article Unusual East Coast Quake: Scientists May Take Months to Pinpoint Source

    The source of earthquakes on the East Coast, like today’s 5.8 temblor in eastern Virginia, can be difficult to pointpoint, unlike faults in well-studied areas of the U.S. where there are major fault lines, according to the US Geological Survey.

    “Based on the data, to really be able to point out what has happened and what fault line was responsible it is definitely going to require more research. It can take several months to a year to discover the fault line,” said Rafael Abreu, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey.

    “We have noticed, and it’s a particular characteristics of the eastern U.S. [earthquakes] tend to be felt more widely than an earthquake of the same size in California or Colorado. It’s an effect of the geology of the eastern U.S,” said Abreu.

    Tuesday’s quake was unlike anything scientists would expect in this area, which has had earthquakes in the 2 to 3 range throughout recent history. “It takes just about everybody by surprise,” he added.

    “The previous time time we had a 6 on the East Coast was also in Virginia, again back in the 19th century over in the Adirondacks. So it’s a rare event, but not unprecedented,” said Dr. Lucy Jones, a Seismologist with the US Geological Survey.

    “Earthquakes happen around the world. There are magnitude 5’s several times a day, around the world. They’re a very common phenomenon, actually,” Jones continued.

    But, they can still be dangerous.

    “Earthquakes are a national hazard,” said David Applegate, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

    On Monday, the strongest earthquake to strike Colorado in almost 40 years shook awake hundreds of people, toppled groceries off shelves and caused minor damage to homes in the southern part of the state and in northern New Mexico. No injuries were reported as aftershocks continued Tuesday.

    People usually associate earthquakes with the West Coast, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, but 39 of the 50 states — including New York and Tennessee — have moderate to high seismic hazard risk, Applegate said.

    The New Madrid fault in the central United States is particularly dangerous. The fault is among the most active in the country, running from St. Louis to Memphis.

  5. Thank you Stephanie, this has been an entertaining read (I’m a nerd, so learning new stuff IS entertainment, although I probably didn’t need to explain that to this group). It has been a little surreal reading a series about one kind of natural disaster, while living through another as I live down here in waterlogged Florida (I was lucky, power was out for less than a day. People I work with might not get power restored until Sunday or later).

  6. The obvious solution: live someplace nice. Something’s going to get you in the end anyway, might as well enjoy a margarita and some guacamole while viewing the sunset over the Pacific from the coastal ranges, temps around 75-80F, low humidity….

    NO, no! I *meant* to say: Stay away! Central Canada – that’s the ticket! Sure, it’s a** biting cold and will be under a few kilometers of ice sooner or later, but earthquakes very rarely happen there, and you’ll be distracted by the frostbite and polar bears anyway. Win-win!

    Gotta throw some more bottled water in the shed.

    1. No, the simple solution is to live someplace where survival is not an option and where you can be relatively sure death will be quick.

        1. Any city controlled by liberal Democratic governments would be high on the list. Say Chicago for example.

            1. Killer museums, shopping to die for, a lake more of an inland fresh water sea, and once you leave Cook county a very rural and welcoming state. Spent my first 33 years a two hour drive from Downtown. But everyone I know still in Illinois is very careful where and when they visit the city these days. Somewhat helpful that Illinois finally enacted at least a limited form of ccw.

        2. I understand the area around Yellowstone is lovely.

          If that sucker blows you’ll likely be dead almost before you hear it

          1. Yes, beautiful. Really, really cold half the year, but lovely. Of course, if it blows, anywhere east of it for several thousand miles is probably just as doomed. Prevailing winds + cubic miles of ash & debris. And everywhere else in the world, especially the northern hemisphere, is in for interesting times, at least.

            Right on top of it removes all doubt, as you say.

    2. Frigid climes do have the advantage that annoying busybodies are less frequently encountered. Mainly as people in general are less frequently encountered. And the ones encountered often have this clue about survival. Often, not always.

      1. Heh. You never lived in a small Dutch or German town in the Midwest. My hand to bog, the ladies at the bakery and bank knew where I’d been, what I was reading, and if I’d gotten my washing in before dark on Saturday even before I did. (You never, ever left your washing out on Sunday. Nor were you seen doing non-dairy chores on Sunday, or People Would Talk.)

        1. Evidently the town I spent a good many years in wasn’t small enough (or German enough?) for that. Or perhaps it was that Pa simply tired them out by his amazing not caring about them at all and getting on with things – which were not necessarily the default. Or after that bit with the church, well, what else was there?

          1. mechanical keyboard likes to repeat it i don’t do clean keystrikes. MY other choice is buying a new one every six to nine months. Membrane keys just don’t last as long as they used to (i had a Dell branded Logitech kb that lasted eight years, there’s a reason that particular keyboard still sells for twenty buck on ebay)

            1. Housemate uses an ASUS mechanical gaming keyboard of some type with brown Cherry MX keys – there was a switch he flipped recently, and he no longer gets ghosting. With the kind of work he does and the speeds at which he types at though, I’m not really surprised he’ll spend upwards of 80 bucks and more for a keyboard.

              I use the ASUS Cereberus keyboard – it’s a membrane but it’s comfortable enough for me. Aff thinks I’ll be able to use the blue Cherry MX keys (apparently they’re the most popular with typists) but when he looked online our favorite store was all sold out of all ASUS keyboards with blue Cherry MX keys…

              1. Main machine has a WASD keyboard with Cherry “Clear” keys. Some feedback, and quiet enough $HOUSEMATE isn’t annoyed. Were I alone and sound not an issue, I’d likely have some full-on buckling spring keyboard.

                  1. Splash proof is a Good Idea – especially around here!
                    I’ve certainly further cemented the habit of setting any food or drink down (and clearing the intake, yes) before reading any new comments.

                  2. Still using a thirty-year-old IBM PC/AT keyboard here. It’s the size of a skateboard, weighs more than a modern laptop computer, and my wife complains about the noise, but after getting used to the long-travel buckling-spring feel, lesser keyboards feel like poking a puppy in the eye.

                    Actually, I’ve only been using it for eight years; the old PC/XT keyboard suited me far better, not being so aggressively right-handed as the AT, but too much software uses right-control and right-alt keys now. Though I’ve been looking hard at one of those programmable key sticks to go with the XT board… The $125 has been the sticking point there.

              2. *Sigh* I really wish I could experiment with keyboard layouts. I already use Dvorak, but I’d like to try to experiment with ways to put meta-keys under the home row.

                I’ve looked into cherry keys, but the two big problems with those is that I have been unable to find half-height keys, and the keys are designed to need holes in PC boards, and I don’t have a drill press available to prepare the board correctly…

                I have a bamboo board I purchased a few months ago, and it has an alt key exactly where I would like a space key — good for one of the experiments I’d like to try (I would like to break up the space bar into smaller pieces), if only I could find the time to figure out how to map “alt” to “space”. The problem here is that it’s not a preset custom option under KDE…

            2. I’ve got one of the mid-range Das Keyboard keyboards for Mac. Really like it, except the cat has figured out that when the “clickity clickity” stops, her odds of getting attention/food/attention/brushing have just increased.

          2. I have an annoying habit of eating at the keyboard. Thus, if I don’t park the KB in the under-monitor-cubby, I have to decrumb the poor thing periodically. The Really Old Computer got moved to the shop when I upgraded (Lordy, 5 years ago), and it’s regular keyboard (MS Comfort Curve, circa 1995) really needs the take-apart-and-soak-the-keys clean, but until I get to it, the backup keyboard does the job.

            That cubby really works; the current MS keyboard hasn’t needed the serious clean yet, and despite it’s nasty habit of typing the keys I press, rather than the ones I meant to, it’s good. 🙂

  7. I lived most of my life 50 miles or less from the San Andrea fault, and about five miles from it for nearly 40 years, including the 1989 Loma Prieta fandango. Quite a few of the earthquakes we’ve felt over the years have been the fault of several of Andreas’ low companions, including the Hayward and Calaveras gang.

    Oddly enough, part of the central section of the San Andreas fault doesn’t generate any ‘quakes, exhibiting something called “aseismic creep”, where the fault slips continuously without causing earthquakes.

    1. One of my favorite memories from when I was living out in California (stationed at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, which is no longer there).

      A buddy of mine got sent on a 6 mo. deployment, and asked me to look in on his wife while he was away. She was a few months pregnant when he left, but he was happily due to return in time for the birth. A few weeks before his return I was walking up their front walk to visit and make sure she wasn’t in need of having any furniture moved (she had previously hurt herself rearranging their living room… what makes pregnant women think this is a good idea?) As I was walking up the sidewalk, I saw her through the screen door sweeping like a mad woman. Then was unceremoniously knocked on my ass by an unexpected (aren’t they all) earthquake. From my now very seated position I looked into the house to make sure she was OK and there she was… on the coffee table… “Pregnant out to THERE!” as they say (really, she looked like she could pop at any minute)… “Surfing” the earthquake…

      I miss that woman… she was AWESOME. My buddy was one lucky dude.

      1. *holds up hand sheepishly* I can relate to the whole moving furniture thing. I had this urge to fix things a lot before the third baby came along and yes, it involved wanting to move big, heavy things. Fortunately I had smaller pieces of furniture that I was able to rearrange, and books to shelve.

        Then my husband and our housemate decided to enable my desire to rearrange a space and we set up a whole work area to my specifications. Doing this apparently settled that part of the nesting urges and Housemate said I was a bit less fidgety after that.

        1. My wife exhibited the “nesting” (move everything in the house somewhere else, scrubbing each item before and after moving it) behavior shortly before each of our three children arrived.

          The first time declaiming periodically “I don’t *know* why I’m doing this!”, the next two, “Good, this pregnancy is finally almost over!”, while directing my moving of items.

    2. That creep is why there are fewer or none in that area. The creep is a constant bleed off of pressure so it doesn’t catastrophically give. (The difference between dragging a toy car across the floor after tying it to a slinky, and trying to drag a Mr. Potato head across the floor using the same slinky. Every time Mr. Potato head jumps, earthquake. The bigger the jump the bigger the quake. Every time the rocks get stopped pressure builds up, and then sooner or later the pressure overcomes whatever’s preventing movement and it gives. But since it’s not nice and smooth it keeps sangging and having to shake free.)

    3. Yes, I’m familiar with the creep aspect.

      Interestingly, in the last couple of years, seismologists have begun to worry even about that — just because the San Andreas is creeping there, doesn’t mean said creep isn’t building up a lot of strain on the adjacent faults — let alone on the San Andreas on either side of the creeping section. Plus there’s some worry about exactly the nature of the creep.

  8. Secure heavy furniture to the walls. (Bookshelves, wardrobes, china hutch, etc.) The biggest danger in a quake is from things falling on you (which is why they encourage you to get under a strong table or bed in a quake.) That also keeps those pieces of furniture from tipping over on *you*, should you be so unlucky as to pull them off-balance.

    1. When the Loma Prieta quake hit, #1 Daughter had just come home from a piano lesson and was practicing the new material on our massive old upright. She quickly hid below the keyboard and watched the room dance.

      Good thing the motion was parallel to the long axis of the instrument, a 90º change in orientation and it would have gone over on top of her (which would have mean being stuck in a space just about her size until we could lift the thing back up. All 500+ pounds of it.

      Everything that could tip over in the house got securely fastened within the next few days.

      1. I had a friend down in Southern California for the Northridge quake. She said there was a wardrobe going back and forth across her room, thankfully NOT towards her.

    2. This is one thing that bothers me about renting. If I owned any of the places I lived in, I would secure every bookcase with two or three screws, possibly into a stud…

  9. Plenty of rebar in the poured concrete foundation. House bolted to the foundation and built at least 30% over spec. Wood frame with 3/4 inch plywood exterior under the siding will give with ground movement and still provide good reinforcement of the frame. It will survive a 6 without any problems beyond crushed sheetrock and popped nails through the paint and spackling. More than that may require disassembly and reconstruction; but it won’t collapse and trap or kill us unless it goes 9 or higher. The risk of that is too low to be concerned. Lightning, fire, or someone running into the house wit a huge piece of construction equipment are all more likely.

  10. From what we’re seeing, people are severely underestimating the duration of outages, particularly with water. Some people do not seem to comprehend that without power, the water quickly goes away.

    I’m also picking up on a lack of understanding the need for non-perishables. Hopefully it’s not as bad as it seems. There is understanding that without power the things in refrigerators and freezers go bad, but not much beyond that. When I bought ice before Irma hit, it was clear that people weren’t buying much, if any. The amount I bought raised eyebrows, but while it turned out we didn’t need it, we gave it to others who did.

    A means to heat and to cook is significant. Heating’s not an issue now, but people seem to have given more thought to how they were going to cook. I saw propane tank and charcoal sales prior to Irma, and have smelled grills going where the power’s not back on yet.

    Now, keep in mind we all saw Irma coming, and everyone could have made adequate preparation if they had thought about it. No one sees a quake coming.

    We’re now on Day Four, and we’re still trying to get all the power back on.

    1. Power outages happen nearly every year in the winter.
      I keep 30 gallons of potable water stored (and refreshed every few months.) During the winter I put a 55 gal drum in the downstairs shower stall with water for flushing the toilet.
      Cook with propane camp stove out in the garage (need to have area you can ventilate and not worry about getting cold) (always have two bottles, one full, one in use, with a regulator to step down the pressure.)
      Burn wood in the fireplace to keep the house above 40 degrees; but really want a franklin-type for cooking on and more efficient heating.
      Also considering digging a well for a water source since hauling a quarter of a mile from the river isn’t the best solution.

        1. Keep in mind that you’ll need a power source for the well. When the power’s out, the water’s out. We’ve got a generator that is _probably_ big enough to start the well pump. Haven’t had to try to figure out how to get it properly connected to the well yet.

          1. There are hand pumps that can bring up water from 150 feet. More than that, you need power, and for really deep wells, you’ll need a jet pump, or multiple stages. Our drilled well goes down 300 feet and uses a single stage, in-well jet pump. Which is why I’d like a secondary water source other than lugging by hand a quarter mile through the woods.

          2. My family’s farmhouse in AR has exactly this problem. I’ve wondered if it would be possible to run a manual pump adjacent to the electrical one, if only for drinking water.

          3. I got a list.
            A v e r y l o o o n g list of things to do, now that I’m in a place that’s mine. If I can and it has decent water, I’d set up a pump and maybe a new point in the basement. I think mine was a hand pump point. Although the house is from 1949, it has had some odd features one would see in an older house. My maternal grandma’s house didn’t get an electric pump until the mid to late 50’s. Dad joked they were highclass because her pump was inside at the “zink” (Gran always called her sinks zinks, because her first was galvanized). Likely, as this was an addition to town when the place was built, there was no city water until far later, maybe the whole town, water table is high as the lake is (points to the left) less than 2 miles that-a-way, and the river is maybe 200 yards south of my seat.
            Water will be hard though. Home Water Treatment is a big seller here.

      1. Rules about water in TX are complex. There’s even a state Water Board. I’m sure that there many rules about digging a well. I wonder if there are Texas lawyers who specialize in water rights and use.

        1. Yes, there are, although mostly in larger cities. Texas water laws are rather simple compared to places like NM and CO where groundwater taking is regulated just like surface waters. In Texas, you can drill a well and pump without needing any permits UNLESS you are in a designated groundwater district. Pretty much all groundwater districts are up in the Panhandle and South Plains. Texas groundwater is “right of capture” so that if you drill the well, you can pump to your heart’s content. Farther west, groundwater comes under the Prior Appropriation limits the same as surface water, and has even tighter pumping limits so that you do not interfere with other wells.

          I sort of wrote my masters and Dissertation on water law and water history.

          1. Take a close look at the regulations. In Oregon, you have to jump through serious hoops for a agricultural well (now, it’s frippin’ near inpossible), but “exempt” wells for residences are all right.

            We had one drilled a year ago; had to register the thing with the state (location, depth and such), but it still avoids the byzantine water rights issues.

            We just got the pumphouse plumbed to the house today. (We were on a shared well system, and while it can work, I’ve never heard anybody thrilled with the concept.) Once plumbing inspection is done (tomorrow, I expect), I’ll see about hooking up a generator backup. If the feces hit the Fedders and we’re out a long time, I could borrow the solar power system (normally backup for refrigeration) to pump a bunch of water. I hope not; the system is portable, but barely so.

          2. A couple of months ago, two of my wife’s cousins were talking about water rights in Tooele and Salt Lake City, in no small part because the cousin living in Tooele was having to figure out how to get his water rights corporation in order. It was fascinating to hear how water rights could be different between two *counties* of one State (Utah).

            Every so often, someone will get in the news for violating water rights by collecting *rain water*. An example: a local car dealership decided to collect rainwater to be used to wash cars. The county (who owned the rights to that water) required them to stop, although if I recall correctly, public pressure on the county caused them to relent somewhat….

    2. I live on the east side of Orlando. We were lucky and only out of power for a day. Lessons learned:

      – Keep water in stock and rotate. I found out that my family would actually USE bottled water if it was available.
      – Deep Freeze makes for a pretty good cooler when power is off. (still should buy some ice, or MAKE some, bag it, and put it in the deep freeze).
      – Somehow, kids forget how to play with toys when there is no Internet… Hmm… go figure…
      – Pull out and charge up unused laptops before the storm if they still have working batteries. They can be used as power stations for Phones (you can charge right off the usb port). My old laptop kept my phone up and going!
      Also, when Best Buy (or other) has those cheap usb batteries on sale, buy a few extras to keep around just in case.
      – I could use a propane burner or camp stove. Trying to actually cook meals on a grill (at least ones where you aren’t actively “grilling”) is a bit of a pain. This was mitigated somewhat by having a collection of cast iron that I actually use, but still a pain, and not very efficient.
      – Get that darn extra propane tank filled!!!

      1. Menards had 10,000mah ones on the clearance rack for$11 a pop. I bought 6, had to exchange one DOA, and use a few here at work. 1 will run my Kindle for 3 work days, playing my Radio Paradise streams.

      2. When it comes to back up battery packs I swear by Anker. have different sizes and for reasonable prices ($30 to $40 depending on size starting at 15k mAh’s). Have two and they have kept me going for days with e-cig, tablet, and phone.

      3. “– I could use a propane burner or camp stove. Trying to actually cook meals on a grill (at least ones where you aren’t actively “grilling”) is a bit of a pain. ”

        Even my bottom end Char-Broil has a side gas stove eye to put a pot on. If I wanted to put on a 6 quart pot, I might have to brace it to keep it from tipping, but it’s there.

    3. Oh, well, a quake is gonna tend to shear off all of the external connectors anyway — pipes, cables, you name it, especially if it’s a) underground, and b) into a slab foundation (which of course is the best kind of foundation to withstand a quake, as I think I mentioned). So while the house may stand, you’re pretty much guaranteed to lose utilities.

      Oh, and all of the main temblors in 1811-12 (there were 3-4 for sure) were estimated Richter/moment magnitude 8-9. That is part of what I was trying to get across in this article — on the New Madrid, they come in swarms.

      1. Electrical, cable, gas, phone, water, and sewage. Utility companies have a major aversion to putting any expansion joint/or slack in their systems since that extra material adds up in the long run. I had to specifically ask for them to put extra loops in all the lines from the mains to the house. And remind them whenever they do maintenance on them. PITA

  11. As I may have mentioned before, Steph is a night owl so will be along later in the day to answer any questions or expand on comments.
    This is the last of the New Madrid articles, and thanks to the lot of y’all for all the positive comments and especially for those who went and bought the book. For those wondering, the book is substantially different from the articles with a good bit more information. Had to be to satisfy Amazon rules and regs for books offered for sale.
    As may have become obvious, I do a bit of support work with several authors associated with this outfit, Steph in particular as we’ve been friends for decades, but done a few odds and ends for Sarah, Amanda, Kate, and so on. Thankless job that, worse than herding cats. Still love them all to death.
    While Steph’s main focus will always be on original fiction, because of the success of Rock and Roll (#1 on Amazon in short non-fiction geology for a week now) I have suggested that she on occasion do more of these science fact books, as indie e-books and with selections here as long as Sarah will have her. I know she’s taking a look at something on both natural and man made EMP effects and an in depth analysis of the Yellowstone caldera. Anyone have any other interests they’d like a serious and professional examination of?

    1. *Raises hand tentatively….* Maybe some more in depth analysis of vulcanism and types of volcanoes?

      1. Chances are, a lot of that will come in with the Yellowstone stuff, to help explain what the difference is between a regular volcano and a supervolcano.

        I can, however, possibly write a bit on Mt. St. Helens. I remember the eruption, and I’ve been there, so if there’s interest, I can see what I can come up with.

        1. YES! I would love to read about Yellowstone from a reliable source. What I’ve read so far makes it out to be either no big deal, or a ticking time-bomb that will END ALL LIFE ON EARTH (probably tomorrow, or maybe next Tuesday).

          1. Yellowstone is officially No Big Deal, mainly because they cannot figure how to leverage it to require government takeover of our lives, our property and our sacred honor.

        2. Mt Saint Helen’s exploded the week my brother was born which is why I can remember the rough date :-). I have been to the park around it and even well over a decade afterwards the ash piles, blown over trees, buried cars, etc were impressive.

          I can’t say I have _seen_ the crater though. When we got to the visitors center across the valley with the good view we discovered it was snowing up there at altitude. Snowing hard enough you couldn’t see the mountain, in JULY!

        3. Oh man. I remember driving from New Jersey to McChord AFB in Tacoma, Wa. a few months after Mt St Helen’s blew. Started seeing a dusting of ash shortly after crossing the Mississippi, and was fascinated as it kept building up over the long miles.

    2. It worked for Isaac Asimov, don’t see why it shouldn’t work just as well for Stephanie.

      And was that a deliberate play on words, “in depth analysis of the Yellowstone caldera”? Sneaky. I like it.

      1. Busted!
        But seriously, Steph is your archtypical science geek, always meticulous in her research, going far beyond what we’ve come to expect from the usual suspects.

        1. I do my bestest, anyhow. Being a polymath with degrees in multiple subjects helps. But the reason I have those degrees in multiple subjects was because i’m a science geek. I have a hard time saying no to classes in stuff I’m interested in.

          1. Heh.
            “Why did you sign up for all of those science electives Mike? You had more than enough credits to graduate.”
            “Because A: I still had to be at school. B: I can take the college exams for credit and not have to take the classes again. And C: Because all of that stuff is fun!”
            “You’re weird.”
            “Yep. And a bit proud of it.”

            1. Well, I wanted to get a degree in astronomy/astrophysics, but it’s rare to find that as an undergrad major, so I knew I was going to grad school in it. The logical undergrad major was therefore physics. So I started a physics major. But physics requires so much math, that it was impossible to get a physics degree without also getting the math degree. And then I decided that some chemistry might be good. And by the time I got done scoping out what chemistry classes I thought I should take, all I needed was a couple more to get the chemistry degree. Then I took some geology courses because exogeology, and finally put my foot down and said no, I’m only getting a minor in that, dang it. I gotta GET TO grad school eventually. So then I went on to do the graduate work in astronomy. (I also picked up a couple graduate subspecialties in physics and geology while I was at it — I had the chance to take a class in x-ray diffraction crystallography and jumped at it.) Then I went into the space program and durn near used it all at some point…

              1. …in all honesty, I also took the geology because I grew up near enough to the New Madrid to feel it go off. I made sure I had the full sequence of geophysics/seismology as part of that.

                1. Just call it “Confessions of an Unrepentant Polymath.”

                  Recently and personally, in my not-so-copious free time and as a very much not-“really”-published writer, I keep being led down multiple primrose paths of similar temptation by my characters. Have someome who’s ethnically Piedmontese / Italian and essentially chief engineer of an Ulam-drive (“Orion”) spaceship? You end up learning just enough Italian for her to say things like “Per momento, per sempre” and enough of the (strictly open literature) ins and outs of nuclear explosives to make some people nervous when you talk about this stuff in public (because, North Korea). And I’ll nought but mention “hard steampunk” here.
                  I can only imagine, Stephanie, how many similar stories you must have to tell by now.

                  Like the estimable Robert Heinlein once said, “specialization is for insects” — and of course he meant it in the “I don’t need to know about *that*” sense, not the “Oh, yes, actually I can do that too” sense.
                  So here’s to the bug-free life.

                  1. Well, I don’t actually think that much of it, the whole polymath thing. I didn’t even think of myself as one until Liberty asked me to give a talk about what it was like to BE one, and then they had to talk me into the notion that I WAS one. I’m in Huntsville AL and people like me, you trip over walking down the street. I don’t consider myself anything special, and it isn’t any big wup.

                    But yes, I do go off on all kinds of stuff like that. And being as how a lot of my stories have mystery elements in addition to the SF, I’m constantly researching poisons and bombs and this and that. Given that I used to have a gov’t clearance, and the nature of the work in HSV (we have NASA AND DOD), I’m pretty sure there’s some FBI or DSS agent someplace tasked with the unenviable job of keeping an eye on me, especially my online searches.

                    The interesting thing is that I CAN specialize when I need to. Or I can go broad, big picture. It all depends on what’s needed at any given time.

                    And before anybody starts thinking of me as the new Brainiac, there are lotsa things I CAN’T do, and my close friends can tell you this. Larry, for instance, can tell you that I do NOT have a head for business and finance; my sister has a much better fashion sense; Darrell has to explain artistic matters to me; on and on. I’m good at science, decent at writing science fiction and/or mystery, a fair actress (I met Darrell when we were both cast in a play at university), and…not a lot else, actually.

            2. I can think of two classes in particular I am *very* disappointed to have missed: the second semester to “Physics for Scientists and Engineers” (it was even an experiment-based class! although the second semester wasn’t as strong in experiments as the first…) and the second semester of “Computer Architecture” (the first semester didn’t quite get to how memory in computers is handled…).

              Ah, heck, I *really* wish I could have taken more physics and maybe some chemistry! And maybe throw in an engineering class or two… Since I would *really* like to get into applied math, I might still have to at some point…

              (I have sometimes wondered if the reason why I had to drop out of the one chance I was going to learn chemistry, was out of divine intervention — who knows, besides G-d, o course, what trouble I could get into, if I just knew even just a little bit of chemistry?)

    3. What? That’s all??? No aftermath, no reporting on how FEMA rebuilt the lives of those afflicted? Nothing on the horrible suffering of those FEMA couldn’t access?

      Yes, yes, I know: FEMA was a gift to the nation of Jimmy Carter in 1979. To be precise, he signed the Executive Order* establishing FEMA on April 1, 1979. Which raises the question: which Carter created agency has done the most harm to the nation?

      *You could look it up:

      1. Carter signed FEMA but FEMA came about because of fear in congress that the Soviets would think actually supporting Civil Defense would be a prelude to a first strike, and be tempted to initiate a first strike of their own. Whether or not the Soviets actually would have is an open question. So the results were that all that CD equipment deteriorated, because CD worked on the sound principle of autonomous units and prepositioned material.

        That’s how we got FEMA, from the idea that we had to do something to deal with disasters, but without anything that would give the Soviets the vapors. Thus FEMA is a top-down agency with no sort of prepositioning of material. That way, it could not survive Soviet strike, and thus would show that we had no intention of a first strike of our own. It also means it can’t immediately react to disasters.

  12. Growing up in NW Tennessee I can report that the land is very flat, as you would expect in the Mississippi River valley… but every once in a while you will find fields that look very much like someone took ocean waves and froze them in place.

      1. Actually I already knew why. The earthquake is a solid fixture in the local cultural memory.

        Two more things I’ll add as a native to the region. The former director of the TN Emergency Management Agency told me once that New Madrid is the fear that keeps them up at night and that they don’t believe there is enough medical supplies and blood banked in the entire country for the injuries that would need to be taken care of. I’ve also heard people wonder if Memphis will still be a city after it is over. (1st, it is not built to the same earthquake standards as places like LA, and 2nd, if by chance The River shifted then why would anyone rebuild a city there?) Second, if you become a professional engineer in Tennessee part of the fine print says that you can be drafted by the governor in the event of an earthquake to do emergency inspections of bridges, buildings, and other structures (even if you are not a Civil Engineer). So they are definitely thinking about how to deal with the large scale of the problem.

        1. Sorry. Didn’t mean to come across as talking down to you.

          But yes, when you think about the big cities that will be affected, the commerce that will be affected (both going along the rivers themselves, and those going across them), and the sheer AREA that will feel the effects of the quake(s), let alone the infrastructures, it’s…bad.

          If we extrapolate the Mercalli map to a rough symmetry on the west, the cities estimated inside the Mercalli VII contour include:
          Huntsville, the Florence/Muscle Shoals area, Decatur;
          Oxford, Tupelo, Greenville, Columbus, Jackson, Vicksburg;
          greater Memphis, greater Nashville, Chattanooga, Jackson, Clarksville;
          Ft. Campbell, Paducah, Bowling Green, Owensboro, Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort, Hopkinsville;
          Indianapolis, Bloomington, Terre Haute, Columbus, Carbondale, Evansville;
          greater St. Louis, Quincy, Springfield, Decatur, Carbondale;
          Cape Girardeau, Hannibal, Columbia, Lebanon, Springfield, Branson;
          Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Pine Bluff, Hot Springs, Conway, Texarkana;
          Monroe, Shreveport;
          Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Muskogee, possibly eastern greater OK City, Ardmore;
          Longview, Tyler, Nacogdoches, Lufkin, possibly even greater DFW.

          And that’s assuming it didn’t set off the Oklahoma Aulacogen.

          This is not to sneeze at, folks. I am NOT trying to scare anybody, except in that maybe some folks need to be scared to be encouraged to get off their duffs and actually plan and prep, just in case.

          We’re used to looking at the stuff in California, the San Andreas quakes, and going, “Oh wow, that’s bad. I’m so glad it’s way over THERE.” Except that the New Madrid brings “way over THERE” up close and personal “HERE.”

          I’m not going to lie and say it’s no big deal. It IS a big deal. Most of these cities were not built with quakes in mind. When I was growing up, there weren’t even SEISMOGRAPHS on the system! Often the cities on the Mississippi were built on the bluffs, because those were areas that they knew wouldn’t flood. But they’ll collapse in a quake. So…yeah. Memphis is a concern.

          But I guess what I’m trying to say in all of this series of articles is, forewarned is forearmed. If you know, and you plan and prepare and take reasonable precautions, it’s survivable. It would be rough for a while — and that’s gonna be true nationwide, because of that whole infrastructure thing. But it’s NOT “Woe is me, we’re all doomed! DOOMED, I say!” It isn’t gonna wipe out the heartland;; it isn’t gonna collapse the country (though that whole infrastructure thing won’t do the economy any favors, probably). Look at Texas right now; look at Florida right now. This is what will happen. This is what we do, what Americans do. We pitch in. We help. Especially those of us who know, and have had the foresight to plan.

          So let me reiterate:

          Be ready.

  13. Nice try, Ms. Osborn, but we all know that the Earthquake happened because Chief Reelfoot angered the Great Spirit by kidnapping a Choctaw princess.

  14. The comparison map really makes (and then underlines) the point of how very much *bigger* a New-Madrid-type quake zone really is, maybe more than that impressive 1811-12 Mercalli map shown earlier.
    That also amplifies the challenge (as if it wasn’t bad enough) to large-scale preparation and response; take much the same resources as on the western Red Spot and spread them over the much vaster Eastern one. Though of course at an individual / family level, the scale is about as big as it can get already, I keep thinking of that recent movie line, “This is not the Land of Backup, this is the Land of You’re On Your Own.”
    And we can *see* why this would keep pros up at night. Literally, see it. (And so that maybe-later with-more-pictures second edition might just have some takers.)

    Is there anything like some online calculator (probably not numerical) where you put in a Mercalli intensity and some information about your house/structure, and it gives you some decent guess about what might break in the quake? I know seismic effects is still an active field, with research on ever bigger and more realistic model structures on “shake tables” for instance, but it would be especially good for slim chance / fat consequence things like this to get a halfway-decent guess easily.

    Oh, and something I keep forgetting to mention, it is New MADrid not New MaDRID, right?  (Like how the capital of S.D. is “Peer” not “Pee-err” which nobody ever mentioned until I was a few dozen miles away.)

    Congratulations on the #1!
    And looking forward to the Yellowstone book/series, and hopefully the EMP one as well. (The material I’ve been able to find on the second is good but has some gaps and bare patches, like predicting pulse intensities vs. yield, altitude, and latitude, which seems to consist mostly of one graph from one report.)

    As one of our Australian correspondents remarked recently, this place is just full of neat stuff. And yours is some of the neater of it.

    1. Yes, that’s why I included the comparison map. I’m trying to remember if that’s one of the illustrations in the ebook, but I don’t recall for sure. I think it might be. And yes, it definitely keeps pros up at night.

      There is not an online calculator that I’m aware of, unfortunately. There are simply too many variables involved.

      And it is indeed New MAHdrid, not New MaDRID.

      Thank you, everyone, for the #1 subject spot. I was shocked and excited; I didn’t expect that.

      I should have an article coming out for PJMedia soon on EMP. Next pop-sci book will probably be the Yellowstone one.

      “As one of our Australian correspondents remarked recently, this place is just full of neat stuff. And yours is some of the neater of it.”
      Aw shucks — thanks! I work hard to make it interesting and a fun learning experience.

      1. By the way; I bought the book! ^^ Looking forward to the Yellowstone one and the EMP article.

        And yes, your stuff is some of the more interesting reading – and pretty much everything in ATH is interesting (so, forgive the awkward attempt at quantification.)

  15. Y’know, I hadn’t thought about it in a while, but when I saw that picture of the San Andreas faultline, I remembered the Marikina Faultline.

    People live in that area. On the faultline. In fact, it’s a heavily populated area, and some parts of it are considered high-income suburbs. There’s a section at the top that has a big … church. I think 7th Day Adventist? or a Church of the Latter Day Saints. I’m not sure which.

    I remembered having a chat with some of my friends about that, and the conclusion was “Well, it’s the Philippines. Either a massive category 5 typhoon rolls in (like it does nearly every year), we have earthquakes daily (hey, we’re right on the heart of the Ring of Fire), or we get erased by dint of volcanic explosion – oh yeah that volcano is active and a tourist destination because it’s a nesting doll of island-lake-volcanic island-with a lake and a tiny island inside. And the first lake is part of a huge volcanic crater known as the Taal Caldera… so yeah we’re kind of ‘meh, we’ll die, and we’ll live in the meantime…’ So we’ll build lots of houses on the fault line!”

    1. Now that was fascinating. Nesting dolls volcano is right! Wow. I’ve been to Mt. Mazama in Oregon, more commonly known as Crater Lake, and that’s fascinating — especially the pumice desert for miles around, from all the pyrotechnic flows when it blew — but an ocean with an island with a lake with an island with a lake with an island?! And all volcanic? Holy carp!

      And yeah, people have this…thing…about living on the slopes of volcanoes and in fault zones and such. I mean, you’d think we’d have learned something since the days of Pompeii, but you’d be dead wrong.

          1. When I typed my comment, Chrome suggested I meant “iconoclastic.”
            That term belongs with a different post on this blog. I think Spill Czech and Autocorrupt are friends.

            1. Yeah, and I’m using Chrome.
              So now I know where some of my stranger word flubs come from, I guess. Actually that makes me feel a little better; when you just KNOW you typed a particular word, yet that’s not what ends up in the text, you can start to wonder if you’re losin’ it or something…

              1. So it’s not just Autocorrupt, now it’s Autogaslight as well?
                These smart new machines may be a bit too much o’ that.
                (music plays)
                Your Plastic Pal who’s fun to BE WITH!

                1. Yeah, it would appear so.

                  For some reason, the term you used — “autogaslighting” — fairly smacks me in the head with Victorian steampunk images. No idea why, exactly. It just does.

                  1. We should not, SHOULD NOT get started this time of night / morning on the “hard steampunk” alter-tech from the “War Between” — the far-out stuff invented by some of the characters is wild enough, but the real inventions that didn’t quite work out are just kinda staggering — like the V-3-style ultra-long-range multi-chamber gun they actually tested in ca. 1862. (And the Germans *almost* made work in WW II.) Should not, ought not..!

                    Autogaslighting: how about a synthetic-gas light that kindles itself (platinum wire catalyst working on the hydrogen in town gas, H2 + CO)? I think that’s actually in there…

                  2. Upon further reflection (and sleep) I’m also pretty well convinced there’s a considerable “mythic resonance” circulating somewhere closely around “autogaslight” — but it’s so elusive I can’t really name it either, despite the obvious while I’ve spent staring through that particular eyepiece. And despite its existence being largely my fault…
                    (Perhaps there’s an “automaton” reference lurking somewhere in there?)
                    Thanks again for “Rock and Roll”; looking forward to the next go-round soon; and expect Osborn’s Owls (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hoyt’s Huns and Hoydens Pty., or however the naming rights settle out in the end) to be lying in wait here again.

                    1. Yeah, I still haven’t figured out the reason the term grabbed me either.

                      But I LOVE the concept of Osborn’s Owls! I often refer to myself as a night owl anyway, and it just SO FITS! YAY!

                    2. Oh, while I’m thinking of it, for those of you on Facebook, there are two groups I own you might be interested in. (Three, really.) There’s Lady Osborn’s Pub, which gets a good bit of varying science discussion in it; there’s Stephanie Osborn’s Fan Club, which was created for me by some fans; and there’s the Osborn Cosmic Weather Report, where I post stuff about solar and space weather. I don’t think any of them are “open,” but they’re not “secret” either. They’re “closed,” so you can find them, but if you’re not a member, you can’t see what’s posted. Allows for a bit of privacy that way.

      1. You’d probably love to visit Taal Volcano. I took my hubby there once, but we didn’t get to go to the peak in the caldera. Just to the shore of the first caldera lake itself. There are fish in that first lake; but the one inside what’s considered the ‘island’ (that has another lake inside and etc) doesn’t have life in it.

        Taal is probably the closest thing we have to Yellowstone that I’m aware of.

        There was some worry that Pinatubo’s eruption would set off Taal. But pretty much, if Taal goes and does a proper big eruption as opposed to the occasional little coughing out clouds of gas and smoke), most of Manila is gonna die and there ain’t no escaping it.

        Mayon Volcano is also active, and there are plenty of people living in its’ shadow – lots of rich farmland, beautiful scenery. Supposedly, the best labuyo chillies came from there. (local bird chillies.)

        1. I would love to visit sometime, but given my current health issues and the fact I’m handicapped now, I am unlikely to be able to handle the terrain, let alone to get out as fast as would be needed in the event of an eruption.

          But yeah, I love stuff like that. I prowled over as much of Mazama as I could, and of St. Helens as I could. I’ve walked over a cinder cone outside Bend, OR, and ridden horseback over the Three Sisters in the Deschutes National Forest, and sat at the foot of an extinct volcanic neck, on a petrified log, with my feet dangling in the water while drinking mint juleps and chatting with a friend. I have 360-degree mosaic panorama photos from the top of that cinder cone, with easily 50+ peaks in the imagery, every one of which is volcanic.

          Yeah. Had I not gone into astronomy and the space program, I might well have become a geologist.


        Tagaytay is a very pretty and fertile region; so I guess it’s really no surprise that lots of people live there. The area is considered one of the better areas to live in; with some of the more wealthy folks having their ‘main household’ there’ and coming to the city only during the week. I have some memory that they’ve improved the road infrastructure going to and from Manila itself because of it.

        *giggle* The description never gets old though.

        Vulcan Point

        The crater lake on Volcano Island is the largest lake on an island in a lake on an island in the world.[11] Moreover, this lake contains Vulcan Point, a small rocky island that projects from the surface of the crater lake, which was the remnant of the old crater floor that is now surrounded by the 2-kilometre (1.2 mi) wide lake, now referred to as the Main Crater Lake. Vulcan Point is often cited as the largest third-order island (island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island) in the world, though this is also claimed to be an unnamed Canadian island located within Victoria Island.[12][13]

        Therefore, Taal has an island within a lake, that is on an island within a lake, that is on an island: Vulcan Point Island is within Main Crater Lake, which is on Volcano Island, which is within Taal Lake, which is on the main Philippine Island, Luzon.

      1. An angel blowing a trumpet on top would only indicate if the building is an LDS temple. If it’s a regular meeting house, it’s just going to have a steeple.

  16. OT (but not really). I spent way too much time awake Thursday waiting for FedEx to deliver something I expected to need to sign for (I didn’t, but it was still best I got $EXPENSIVE_THING into the house when it finally arrived). So as not to miss it, I parked myself by the door and read. The book? Dragon Blood. Yeah, had it several weeks now. When I say “ox slow” there really is more than a little truth to it. But now that I’m about half-way through… inertia means it will get finish soon…ish.

  17. The red (damage) zone of the 1895 New Madrid quake looks very asymmetrical – extending 3x further to the east than the west, and about 8x further to the NW and 10x further to the NE. Is this an artifact of the reporting, or a result of variations in the underlying crustal structures?

    1. Hard to tell, for that point in time.

      I do know that recent models indicate that the grabens form kind of resonance chambers, tending to reinforce the quake waves in certain directions, though.

      So could be a bit of both — a selection effect from relative population densities, coupled with the resonance chamber effect.

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