Most of us think of earthquakes as a West Coast problem.  However, science proves this isn’t the case.

• The U.S. Geological Survey says earthquakes pose “a significant risk to 75 million Americans in 39 states.”

• Of the 26 U.S. urban areas deemed at risk for significant seismic activity, nearly one-third are east of the Rockies, including New York; Boston, Massachusetts; St. Louis, Missouri; Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville, Tennessee; and Charleston, South Carolina.

• One of the most active eastern quake zones is the New Madrid seismic zone, winding southward from Illinois and Missouri down through west Tennessee and Arkansas. It unleashed a series of magnitude-8.0 quakes in 1811-12.

Seismologists say we can expect one that big every 200 to 300 years. And quakes in the 6.0 range come every 80 years or so. The last one in the area was in 1895, 115 years ago.

• Others worth noting: A magnitude-7.3 quake in Charleston in 1886 and a magnitude-5.8 quake in northern New York state in 1944.

• Although earthquakes may be less frequent in the eastern U.S., the USGS says urban areas in the East could face bigger losses because the shaking would affect much larger areas than similar quakes in the West. In addition, most homes and buildings in the East are not designed to withstand earthquakes.

Here in Alabama, we aren’t too accustom to this type of natural disaster.   However, I do remember about 5 years ago a quake that woke me up here in Central Alabama.  Hopefully that was a once in a lifetime ordeal…

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