Monday, February 7, 2011

The Hard Shock

One hundred and ninety nine years ago the greatest of the New Madrid earthquakes occurred.  Many described it at the hard shock.. Here is an example of what they experienced:

"About 3 o'clock on the morning of the 7th, we were waked by the violent agitation of the boat, attended with a noise more tremendous and terific than I can describe or any one conceive, who was not present or near to such a scene. The constant discharge of heavy cannon might give some idea of the noise for loudness, but this was infinitely more terrible, on account of its appearing to be subterraneous."  Account of Matthias Speed near New Madrid, Missouri.

On the edge of the continent the quake was felt with an equal violence:
"At a quarter before five o'clock in the evening of Tuesday last, a small shock was felt and about half past three on Friday morning, it was followed by one that far exceeded in severity any thing of the kind heretofore experienced here. It continued with considerable severity for about 2 minutes, but the motion did not entirely subside under ten or fifteen. It shook off the top of one of the College chimnies, threw down partitions inside with in one of the professors houses; and partially affected several other buildings.” 8120221_nmad_3_137 Account from Columbia South Carolina. 
These are just a sample of the accounts from that day. Many people across the continent were jolted by the quake and wondered what had occured. This curiosity led them to record what they experienced and help modern researchers to rediscover the earthquakes after a long period of obscurity.