Monday, January 23, 2012

The Second Great Quake

On this day 200 years ago the second of the great New Madrid earthquakes occurred.  It was later in the morning than the one on December 16, 1811 but it still was felt across vast distances.  Although there were many reports across the Unites States describing the experience there were none from the area near the epicenter of the quake itself,  this lack of eyewitness’s stems from several possible reasons.  First the observers of the first quake may have left the area.  Accounts from Little Prairie tell of residents fleeing the town after the quake.  Observers who experienced the quake on the river continued their journey to the south and out of the New Madrid region.  Another factor with all the aftershocks from the December 16, 1811 earthquakes observers near the epicenter would not have noted the January 23rd quake as being different from all the others they were experiencing.
Where the quake was noticed the effect were quite dramatic.  At Annapolis, Maryland skaters on the river fled in terror to the shore as the ice cracked beneath their feet.   At Charleston South Carolina it was described as a shock that was felt for a minute and cracked pavement in a few places.  In Cincinnati the effect was to shake buildings to the point they made noise and to vibrate lightening rods on roofs to the point that it was noticeable.
For more reports of the earthquake please visit New Madrid Compendium

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