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Earthquakes are not rare in Missouri and while small small earthquakes and tremors occur frequently in Missouri, powerful earthquakes have occurred in the Bootheel region of the state. Three earthquakes, estimated at magnitude 7.0 or greater occurred in the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) in the winter of 1811-12.

The NMSZ, located in southeastern Missouri, northeastern Arkansas, western Tennessee, western Kentucky and southern Illinois, is the nation's most active seismic zone east of the Rocky Mountains. The zone cuts across the Mississippi River in three places and the Ohio River in two places. More than 200 small earthquakes occur in region each year. The devastating magnitude 9.0 Tohoku, Japan earthquake that occurred March 11, 2011 in northern Honshu, Japan makes us acutely aware that earthquakes can occur without warning. While many earthquakes do not cause loss of life, they are a natural hazard that no one can predict and there are things we can do to be better prepared in the event a damaging earthquake occurs in Missouri.

Participate in the 2015 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut!

Oct. 15
Central U.S.

10:15 a.m. wherever you are!

Join millions of people worldwide to practice how to Drop Cover and Hold On at 10:15 a.m. October 15 during the Great Shake Out Earthquake Drill! Register today for the 2015 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut. Participating is a great way for your school, family, business or organization to be prepared to survive and recover quickly from big earthquakes -- wherever you live, work or travel.



2015 Earthquake Awareness Month Events

Feb. 28

10:30 a.m. to noon @ Onondaga Cave State Park, Leasburg

"Shake and Quake:  Earthquake Preparedness is in the Bag” – Vicki Voigt, a geologist from the Department of Natural Resources' Missouri Geological Survey, will present a program about earthquake basics, history, earthquake preparedness, and the effects earthquakes have had, and will have, on the land and human population. This program will include an introduction to State Emergency Management Agency programs related to earthquakes, by Steve Besemer, ‎Earthquake Program Manager, SEMA. After the program, the video about earthquakes in the Midwest will be shown. There will be time for questions and answers. Admission is free. Onondaga Cave State Park is located seven miles southeast of the Leasburg exit off of Interstate 44 on Highway H. For more information about the event, contact the park at 573-245-6576.

  • QuakeSmart Business Summit

    • Friday, Feb. 6
    • 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. 
    • Saint Louis University, Il Monastero Meeting Room
    • 3050 Olive Street
    • St. Louis, Mo.
    • Phone: 850-385-7233
    • Learn about Missouri seismic risk, business continuity, disaster response, and the benefits of preparing your business for earthquakes and other business interruptions. At the summit, you will hear from experts in seismology, emergency management, business continuity, and construction about actionable steps that you can take to prepare your business. Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Missouri State Emergency Management Agency staff will host an educational booth onsite. The summit is free and attendees will be provided with the FEMA QuakeSmart Community Resilience Program for Businesses and Organizations at no cost to you.


Anniversaries of Note

Dec. 16, 2013
Northeast Arkansas

Anniversary of 2:15 a.m. 1811 earthquake (estimated magnitude 7.7) in northeast Arkansas that started the sequence of Midwest earthquakes in 1811-12. The ground reportedly shook for several minutes in places and the earthquake was felt in cities such as New York and Washington, D.C.

Dec. 16, 2013
Northeast Arkansas

Anniversary of 7:15 a.m. 1811 earthquake (estimated magnitude 7.0) in northeast Arkansas that was felt on the East Coast. The event is described as "severe" at New Bourbon, Missouri, and was described by boatman John Bradbury, who was moored to a small island south of New Madrid, as "terrible, but not equal to the first." Hough believes that this large aftershock occurred around dawn in the New Madrid region near the surface projection of the Reelfoot fault.

Dec. 17, 2013
Southeast Nebraska

Anniversary of 2009 earthquake (magnitude 3.6) in southeast Nebraska was felt in portions of Missouri, including the cities of St. Joseph and Kansas City.

Jan. 5, 2014
Marked Tree, Arkansas

Anniversary of the 1843 earthquake (estimated magnitude 6.3) near Marked Tree, Arkansas which was felt over much of eastern half of Missouri. Some land reportedly sank near New Madrid and chimneys fell as far away as St. Louis.

Jan. 23, 2014
New Madrid, Missouri

Anniversary of 9:15 a.m. 1812 earthquake (estimated magnitude 7.5) near New Madrid, Missouri.

Feb. 7, 2014
New Madrid, Missouri

Anniversary of 3:45 a.m. 1812 earthquake (estimated 7.7 magnitude) which is considered to be the largest earthquake ever to occur in Missouri. This earthquake was felt across most of the United States and into Canada.

Feb. 21, 2014
East Prairie, Missouri

Anniversary of 2012 earthquake (magnitude 3.9) near East Prairie caused little damage but reportedly was felt in more than 20 states.

June 7, 2013
Festus, Missouri

Anniversary of 2011 magnitude 3.9 earthquake near Festus, Missouri.

Earthquakes in Missouri

Educational Videos

Earthquake Exhibit at New Madrid Historical MuseumEarthquake Exhibit at the New Madrid Historical Museum

Check out this new video tour of the earthquake exhibit at the New Madrid Historical Museum.  The museum is located at No. 1 South Main Street, in New Madrid, Mo.

A Survivor's Story -- Eliza BryanA Survivor's Story, Eliza Bryan – The Great New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-12

December 9 and 10, 2011 at the Dixie Theater in New Madrid, Missouri, Eliza told her story of surviving this terrible ordeal and life at that time in southeast Missouri. Eliza related her experiences to Dr. Seismo, played by David Stewart, Ph.D., through the help of Marian McDonald, who was reared in southeast Missouri more than 150 years after the great earthquakes. Eliza is one of the most important eyewitnesses to the events.

Join us Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015 for The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut

Join us for the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut

Plan to participate Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015 in the next ShakeOut exercise.  In the meantime, you and your family can practice how to protect yourselves during earthquakes by DROPPING to the ground, taking COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and HOLDING ON! Practicing is a great way for your family or organization to be prepared to survive and recover quickly from big earthquakes. Learn more and register today!

Watch these award winning vidoes on our YouTube channelAward winning preparedness videos created by Missouri school children

Kindergarten through 12th grade students across Missouri were encouraged to share their knowledge by creating videos that educate others about preparing for an earthquake. The contest was sponsored by the department’s Missouri Geological Survey. Winners chosen from three categories: K-4, 5-8 and 9-12 grades.

Seventh grade students Miranda Kaleel and Lauren Whittier from Rockwood School District’s Selvidge Middle School in Ballwin, won the 5-8 grade category and were named grand prize winner for their silent movie video that demonstrates the steps one should take in the event of an earthquake. The video was a class project for gifted students.  Theresa Stockman is their teacher.  Kaleel and Whittier were invited to the Carnahan High School of the Future, St. Louis, to practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On during the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut on April 28, 2011.  Gov. Jay Nixon, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Education Department Secretary Arne Duncan fielded questions Carnahan School for the Future and Selvidge Middle School students posed.  Kaleel and Whittier were recognized for their winning video by Secretaries Napolitano and Duncan.