MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Two centuries ago, a series of powerful
earthquakes rocked the central Mississippi River valley at what was
then the western edge of the young United States.
Now some seismologists believe there could be another "Big
One" in the next 50 years along the New Madrid (MAD'-rihd) seismic
zone stretching between Memphis and St. Louis.
The quakes happened on Dec. 16, 1811, and Jan. 23 and Feb. 7 of
1812. They were among the strongest in U.S. history with magnitudes
estimated between 7.7 to 8.1
Seismologists agree that predicting when an earthquake will
strike is next to impossible. But some experts think there is a 28
percent to a 46 percent likelihood of a magnitude 6 or greater
earthquake occurring around the area in the next 50 years.