News Release 021

Joe Gillman chosen as lead geologist in multi-state earthquake association

Volume 38-021 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Hylan Beydler
573-368-2118

ROLLA, MO, JAN. 19, 2010 -- Joe Gillman, state geologist and Geology and Land Survey Division director with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, was selected as coordinator for the Association of Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) State Geologists.

CUSEC is a multi-state partnership whose primary mission is to mitigate disasters and save lives. Since 1992, the CUSEC State Geologists from member states (Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri) have worked closely with many different partners in federal government and within member states to increase awareness of the earthquake risk in the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ).

"In cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey and the CUSEC Board of Directors, the CUSEC State Geologists provide scientific data about the New Madrid Seismic Zone, mapping for risk assessment, potential earthquake risk for citizens, as well as provide geologic information," Gillman said. "In addition to providing earthquake hazard maps and relevant scientific data for researchers and the public, our desire is to provide information so that all citizens are earthquake aware."

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. More than 200 small earthquakes occur in the zone each year. In the winter of 1811-12, the NMSZ produced a series of earthquakes estimated at magnitude 7.0 or greater.

There is broad agreement in the scientific community that a continuing concern exists for a major destructive earthquake in the NMSZ. In the event of a large, damaging quake, the Department will "stand up" a clearinghouse for scientists entering the affected area. "From our Post Earthquake Technical Information Clearinghouse (PETIC), we will facilitate a science information center for geologists and other scientists who will be entering the affected area. It is anticipated that preliminary geologic data can aid officials in anticipating the potential for landslide, flooding and effects of further ground movement; thus saving lives and property," Gillman said.

While they may not be directly impacted by an earthquake in the NMSZ, CUSEC Associate States can provide valuable resources to Member States if necessary. Associate states include Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia.

Jim Wilkinson is CUSEC Executive Director and Paul Parmenter, Missouri State Emergency Management Agency director represents Missouri on the CUSEC Board of Directors. CUSEC is headquartered in Memphis, Tenn. For more information about CUSEC visit cusec.org.

February is Earthquake Awareness Month in Missouri. Along with the department, SEMA, CUSEC, USGS and other state and federal agencies are planning earthquake awareness activities for February and plans are underway to observe the 200th anniversary of the 1811-12 earthquakes.

For information about earthquakes, along with rocks, minerals and fossils, plan a trip to the department's Ed Clark Museum of Missouri Geology. The museum is located at 111 Fairgrounds Road in Rolla. Admission is free. Hours are from 8 a.m. -- 5 p.m. weekdays. Visit online for related events and information: dnr.mo.gov/geology.

###

Editor: Photo can be found at /newsrel/images/joegillman.jpg.

Caption: Joe Gillman, Department of Natural Resources' Geology and Land Survey Division director and state geologist was named coordinator for the Association of Central United States Earthquake Consortium State Geologists.