3 earthquakes shake southeast Missouri in under an hour. How would a bigger quake impact Kansas City?

KMBZ News Staff
October 04, 2019 - 5:34 am

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A small town in southeast Missouri was rattled by three earthquakes in less than an hour this week.

They all measured less than a 3.0 on the Richter scale, but the frequency has some wondering what will happen in KC if the much-talked about "big one" ever hits in the New Madrid Fault Zone.

Christopher Carroll, Emergency Planner with the Kansas City Office of Emergency Management, told KMBZ that earthquakes in that neck of the woods are not at all uncommon, even if we don't normally hear about them. 

"The New Madrid Seismic Zone runs right through that area, and it's about as active as any of the faults in California," Carroll said. 

In 1811 and 1812, multiple major quakes struck along the New Madrid Fault Zone, reportedly causing the Mississippi River to run backwards and church bells to ring as far away as Boston.

If a magnitude 6 or greater trembler hit again, Kansas City's infrastructure could be impacted, but the biggest effect may be one you hadn't considered. 
 
"In the event that would happen, we would partner up, because there would be too many evacuees, too many refugees, for Kansas City to handle by itself," Carroll said. 

Experts disagree on when a large-scale, potentially devastating quake could hit in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, with some saying every 200 years, and others insisting a quake of such magnitude would only occur every 500 years.

In any event, Kansas City officials a plan and insist you should, too. 

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