Earthquake Information

Information on Earthquake Hazards for the Central United States

New Madrid Seismic Zone Information

Please visit CERI for detailed information.

The New Madrid fault system, or the New Madrid seismic zone, is a series of faults beneath the continental crust in a weak spot known as the Reelfoot Rift. Unlike faults in other places, the NMSZ faults cannot be seen on the surface. They are buried under roughly 3,000 feet of sediments called the Mississippi embayment.

The fault system extends 150 miles southward from Cairo, Illinois through New Madrid and Caruthersville, Missouri, down through Blytheville, Arkansas to Marked Tree, Arkansas. It dips into Kentucky near Fulton and into Tennessee near Reelfoot Lake, and extends southeast to Dyersburg, Tennessee. It crosses five state lines, and crosses the Mississippi River in at least three places.

Map of the New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones. Red circles indicate earthquakes that occurred from 1974 to 2002 with magnitudes larger than 2.5 (University of Memphis). Green circles denote earthquakes that occurred prior to 1974 (USGS Professional Paper 1527). Larger earthquakes are represented by larger circles. From USGS Fact Sheet 131-02, ” Earthquake Hazard in the Heart of the Homeland”

Most recent non-technical USGS Factsheet: Earthquake Hazard in the Heart of the Homeland

Most recent technical USGS Factsheet: Urban Seismic Hazard Mapping for Memphis Shelby County Tennessee

Recent earthquake activity in the Central United States: CERI

Reducing Hazards in the Central and Eastern United States:  USGS

General Information