When will 'the Big One' hit Indiana?
NOLINKNEWS | Feb 27, 2011
(Indianapolis, IN) "You roll the dice, its like going to the casino right. What's the probability today? You may be lucky, you may not be," said IU Professor Gary Pavlis.
Pavlis says the New Madrid system, which is located in Southern Illinois, is our source for earthquake activity.
"Theres something about the New Madrid region, which is not totally understood, which causes it to be sesmically active today. It's not a plate boundary but it has higher rates of earthquakes than the surrounding regions," Pavlis explained.
Unlike California, Alaska, and the East African Rift, the New Madrid system has stumped geologists for years. Its topography certainly isn't ideal for earthquakes and its genetic make up is unlike any other earthquake zone that exists.
Most quakes erupt along an active plate boundary or when two plates collide. The stress causes them to snap but the New Madrid system is composed of "intra plates" meaning the earthquake originates within the plate itself. The fault lines proximity to us makes Indiana a target to experience "the big one."
Pavlis says the risk is much higher in the southern part of the state. Along the Wabash Valley is a zone of concentrated earthquake activity that probably has some genetic relationship to the New Madrid system.
So what are the odds we'll see a devastating earthquake here in Indiana? It's a matter of "tens."
Research shows that California will have a gigantic earthquake every 20 years, multiply that by ten and experts say we'll see a devastating earthquake here in 200 years.
Studies suggest California will see a monumental earthquake so big that it changes history every 100 years. Multiple that by ten and in Indiana we can expect our history changer every 1,000 years.
While the big one may not even happen in your lifetime, devastating 5.7 magnitude quakes are more common even here in the heart of Indiana, where they can occur every 10-15 years. Pavlis says "
It isn't the same as a place in California. You can't put your head under the sand and say its not there. It will happen, its inevitable. Its just a matter of will it affect me," said Pavlis.
Sheryl Langdon knows that all too well and she just hopes others are as ready as she is.
"This kind of event changes everything. It can hit and it looks like a war zone and I don't think that Indiana is prepared for it," said Sheryl.
How do you prepare for an earthquake that could strike at a moments notice? For starters, ignore the myths. One of the worst places to be during an earthquake is outside. There are more things that can fall on you outside, than inside.
Stay away from large objects like book shelves and if you're inside when the ground starts to shake your best protection? To stand under a doorway. That way if the walls fall, they'll come down around you, not on you.