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series: New Madrid: The Earthquakes Of 1811-1812
air date: 11/21/12 12:30 AM
Beginning in 1811 and lasting through part of 1812, one of North America's strongest earthquake sequences struck the western frontier of the United States. However, this wasn't California, but the Mississippi River Valley - what is now the country's heartland. Some of these quakes were felt a thousand miles away and created Reelfoot, Tennessee's largest natural lake. This documentary takes a historical look at the massive quakes that struck the tiny frontier town of New Madrid, MO. Eyewitness accounts bring to life what must have been a terrifying experience. The program also gives a scientific perspective on the New Madrid Seismic Zone. For all the technology and information at their disposal, today's scientists still don't know exactly why we even have earthquakes in the Central U.S. In 1811, there was very little damage and few casualties caused by the New Madrid quakes. However, an equally powerful earthquake today in this area would be catastrophic, with a global impact. We will take a look at the threat posed to a large section of the country; how much and what kind of damage we might expect if "The Big One" were to strike today.
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