News Release 087

3.7 magnitude earthquake in the Bootheel

Volume 38-087 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Judd Slivka
573-3751-1010/573-340-9DNR (9367) (after hours)

ROLLA, MO, MARCH. 2, 2010 – A magnitude 3.7 earthquake was detected in southeast Missouri today – a reminder that the region is in the most geologically active zone east of the Rocky Mountains.

The earthquake, recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey at 1:37 p.m., occurred 15 miles east-southeast of Sikeston. The quake was felt as far north as Alton, Ill., and St. Peters, Mo.

“Given its relatively shallow depth of about 3.6 miles, and its magnitude, it’s no surprise that it was felt 200 kilometers away,” said Joe Gillman, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Geology and Land Survey Director and the state’s geologist. “It wouldn’t be surprising for it to be felt even further away.”

No damage was reported from the earthquake and DNR is continuing to work with the State Emergency Management Agency and the Center for Earthquake Information in Memphis, Tenn.

On Feb. 19, Gov. Jay Nixon joined the state geologist and a group of public safety, emergency response and law enforcement officials for a summit on earthquake preparedness. The roundtable discussion, held in New Madrid, was convened to discuss strategies for strengthening Missouri’s readiness for a potential quake in the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

The quake occurred in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, often called the NMSZ.

In the winter of 1811-1812, the NMSZ produced a series of earthquakes estimated at magnitude 7.0 or greater. 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 fault cuts across the Mississippi River in three places and the Ohio River in two places. More than 200 small earthquakes occur in the zone each year.

Citizens are encouraged to provide reports based on their experience, by visiting this website: earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/dyfi/

For additional information about earthquakes in Missouri, visit this website: dnr.mo.gov/geology/

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