Every now and then I get an email from someone who is considering a move to Memphis but has heard that our city is at risk for an earthquake. The fact is, Memphis sits in the New Madrid Fault Zone
and experts assert that the city could sustain a great deal of damage if an earthquake of any great magnitude were to occur. Most of us are familiar with the 1812 earthquake that caused the formation of Reelfoot Lake. That quake had an estimated magnitude of 8.0 or higher. Longtime residents of the area may remember the 4.8 in 1990, which is the only earthquake that I, personally, have ever felt. Longer-time residents may remember the 5.0 that occurred in 1976.
And of course, who could forget December 3, 1990? That was the date that scientist Iben Browning predicted a 50% probability of a major earthquake on the New Madrid Fault. In spite of the fact that many people went into a panic, staying home from work and keeping their children home from school, the earthquake never came. Nearly fifteen years later and we're still waiting for "The Big One."
Nevertheless, it's always a good idea to be prepared. If you don't already have one, consider assembling an earthquake survival kit. You don't need much but in an emergency, it could make the difference between life and death.