Monday, January 18, 2010

Bedtime Story.

Fun-filled USGS .pdf file on the likely consequences of the New Madrid fault letting go, complete with lots of maps and damage estimates sporting huge vapor trails of zeroes.

Pleasant dreams!



(H/T to SurvivalBlog.)

29 comments:

Michael said...

Makes you realize that all that post Katrina spending by the fed was a waste.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Yeah, yeah. No worse than the Canary Islands La Palma tsunami that will hit the East Coast.

Sure scientists say it's too remote to think about, but those idjits got Glowball Warmening wrong, didn't they? Silly Eggheads. They wave will only be 24 meters high when it hits the Chesapeake. I guess the top of the Washington Monument will be the place to be.

Anonymous said...

Tam, your timing is perfect! Told my son about this fault and earlier quakes last week and he didn't believe me! [But he did buy me a new Ruger for Christmas, so I can't give him too much grief.] The info on gas lines and the rest have been available for years - my Dad did a paper on this for some grad work back in the late '60s.
OldeForce

wolfwalker said...

NJT: and not nearly as bad as a blast from the Yellowstone supervolcano would be.

Marja said...

Hey, don't forget the Long Valley caldera. You guys live on a continent with two big caldera volcanoes... Well, there are at least two more besides those, but the others show no hints that they might still be anywhere close to active. But both Yellowstone and Long Valley seem to be rather lively.

Justthisguy said...

I'm on dial-up. That thing will take a half an hour to materialize here. Is there an executive summary, somewhere, in a non-PDF format? (There are other ways to do graphics which do not suck bandwidth like a black hole.)

Michael said...

In summary, at some point in the future, a bunch of people are going to have a real bad day.

Justthisguy said...

Yup, I wonder when the under-Yellowstone bubble is going to pop.

Atom Smasher said...

Yeah, sorry Tam. I know a teensy bit about geology and yeah, if the New Madrid fault goes, you're pretty Effed.

But then, so is Memphis.

I posted this somewhere else a while ago: "Nature is far more dangerous than Mankind could ever hope to be. Remember that the next time an Indonesian Island spews itself into the Troposphere. You will watch the pictures on the news and wail "O, but for a simple war!" when that happens."

wolfwalker said...

Oh, one other thing: The linked PDF discusses the consequences of "a magnitude 6.0 to 6.8 earthquake" in the New Madrid Seismic Zone. We're coming up on 200 years since the New Madrid fault complex produced the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded on the North American continent: four shocks in the 8.0-8.2 range. The moment-magnitude scale for earthquake energy is logarithmic: an increase of 1 magnitude = 10 times as much energy released. And we still don't have a good model for the activity going on down there, not the way we do for the West Coast fault complexes.

ditto said...

Lovely, I have weathered a blizzard, tornado, flood and a major hurricane. I guess an earthquake has been in the cards for some time now.

Will said...

IIRC, the Mississippi shifted as much as 6 MILES in one area as a result of that 1800's quake. Felt/heard in NY city!

perlhaqr said...

I am moderately disgusted by the fact that I read the economic impact statements, on the order of $90 Billion, and due to recent (last year or so) government activity, thought to myself "Is that it?"

If the recovery costs of destroying 4 major cities is "only" $100B, why the fuck is the "health care reform" bill so gorramn expensive?

WV: "nonink" -- What we need to give to Congress to write bills with for a while.

BryanP said...

I've heard a lot of this from a geological engineer friend of mine here in Nashville. She explained a term I'd never heard before: soil liquefaction. Basically during a quake, the soil discussed in the presentation you link will move like a liquid. It will be Not Pretty.

Anonymous said...

I live better than 300 miles from the last 6.5 that was off-shore near Ferndale. The old wooden house I rent was rockin' and rollin'. The large book case next to me was bangin' against the wall and the solid wood table on which my computer sits wobbled.
Hopefully, I'm at a high enough elevation that the Pacific will still be a few miles away after the big one hits.
I'll still take livin' here, with 'quakes and fires, as opposed to tornados and hurricanes in other parts of the country.

Rob J

Anonymous said...

And it fails to mention the releasing of long buried evil Indian shamans and their zombie hordes. I can't guess what the cost of recovering from that mess will be.

Gerry

Don Meaker said...

Of course they expect to require rationing, rather than let the market apportion scarce goods to those with the greatest need.

Guaranteed to continue misery for the longest possible time.

Love how they expect data lines to be cut. Don't understand wireless, I guess.

Pathfinder said...

That's a feel-good read!

Best part was the FEMA regions - good info.

I learned of the New Madrid fault by experiencing a quake in St. Louis during a judo class in college. Weird feeling - I moved left, the opposite wall moved.

Weer'd Beard said...

My Big SHTF scare is that a small quake will cause the poorly constructed I-90 and I-93 tunnels under Boston to Collapse, causing HUGE chunks of the city to fall.

On a Wing and a Whim said...

Been through blizzards, earthquakes, forest fires, floods, volcanic eruptions - though the tsunami warnings never were needed - and now I'm down in Louisiana, where they have hurricanes and tornados. I don't want to finish out the major disaster list, but I do seem to be in the right area.

If the New Madrid goes, this is going to bring a whole new emphasis to why you shouldn't build off bedrock. Nothing here is built to earthquake code - heck, they don't even understand the concept of insulating houses!

Joanna said...

As a life-long Hoosier, I've been through three earthquakes, and only noticed two of them. The latest woke me up before my alarm, and I sat up, waited for the shaking to stop, said "Eh" when nothing fell in on me and went back to sleep.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not too worried about The Big One hitting New Madrid -- not in the sense that I don't think it'll happen, but in the sense that you can only do so much to prepare for contingencies, and everything after that is up to you. I'm very much a play-it-by-ear type -- a "Wingin' It Commando", as we used to say in marching band.

DirtCrashr said...

Ha! The East-Coast will fall into the ocean and a giant tidal wave will slam the Canary Islands - and the Mississippi will run backwards all the way up to Canuckistan - but we're shielded by a wall of granite called the Sierras.

Will said...

A large border around the SF Bay is landfill. The bay used to be a lot bigger. That elevated freeway that collapsed in Oakland in the '89 quake was built on fill. That is the type of soil that acts like a fluid during a quake. Twice here in the South Bay I have seen that. It is just bizarre to see WAVES rolling across a blacktop parking lot! As cars got to bouncing in that '89 quake, I saw daylight under some tires.

loren said...

Moved to Perth, Australia. Not much chance of earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, nukes, hurricanes, blizzards or tornadoes.
Damn boring place too.

Marja said...

I live on the Baltic shield. Pretty much the only natural disasters I have to worry about are meteorites and a new glacial period (which, when they come, seem to be able to come in less than a human's lifetime).

Ok, well, there have actually been a few cases of landslides due to soil liquefaction near here. But there are no hills where I live...

Joanna said...

Moved to Perth, Australia. Not much chance of earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, nukes, hurricanes, blizzards or tornadoes.
Damn boring place too.


But I thought everything in Australia can and will kill you just for giggles? And with poison? Nice beaches, though.

loren said...

"But I thought everything in Australia can and will kill you just for giggles? And with poison? Nice beaches, though."

Well, anything that looks like a snake sure gets your attention and a 4 meter fish swimming along the beach causes a certain amount of excitement, but the city is reasonably safe.

reflectoscope said...

I'll take the cold weather I've got, thanks.

Jim

Anonymous said...

@New Jovian Thunderbolt
The La Palma Tsunami story has been debunked, it was a irresponsible film and not based on facts.
Even the authors say they might have overestimated the danger, which means that they know (and knew) that it wasn't true and won't happen.
www.lapalma-tsunami.com