Arkansas Earthquake Activity

By RandyR

First posted on 02-06-2009

According to scientists studying seismic activity in Arkansas, a newly discovered fault line in the state may have produced a magnitude seven earthquake in centuries past and has the potential for producing a major quake again.

The fault line is about ten miles long and is situated close to the community of Marianna in east central Arkansas, about seventy-five miles southwest of Memphis.

Dr. Haydar Al-Shukri, director of the Arkansas Center for Earthquake Education and Technology Transfer, recently spoke at the Clinton School of Public Service about a series of relatively small tremblers in the central part of the state as well as the newly found fault line, and said that seismic activity is more robust in Arkansas than many scientists and others realize.

In November of last year alone, five small quakes in the 2.5 magnitude range occurred west of Hot Springs and another, a 2.7 trembler, occurred near Clinton just recently.

Al-Shukri said that predicting quakes is far from perfect and that recent activity is not an indication that a larger quake will hit the area. But he did say the a big quake in the near future, one in the 6.5 magnitude range, is a scientific possibility.

Al-Shukri said that scientists and colleagues studying seismic activity in Arkansas are not trying to spread fear or worry but rather hope to get people prepared in the event of a larger quake.

“Six-point-five is a devastating earthquake, because many of the building in the area were not built to with stand an earthquake of magnitude 6.5,” says Al-Shurki.