The earthquake capital of the country...Kentucky???

Kentucky lies on a fault line. This much I know. However, an acquaintance today suggested that the state of Kentucky experiences an earthquake every day due to the plates of the fault shifting. I can find nothing to either confirm or deny this. Should I worry that the entire state will one day plunge into the middle of the earth due to its cave systems?

Far Western Kentucky is close to the New Madrid zone of Missouri. That’s probably a far bigger threat than anything in Kentucky itself.

I’m no geologist, but I don’t think caves and earthquakes (other than very localized sinkholes) have any direct relationship.


But you might well experience some earthquakes in your future.

As does much of the civilized (?) planet. There are a lot of faults. Some fault movements are driven by plate tectonics, some by sedimentary load, some by both salt and shale tectonics. Any one of the above can remodel your abode, some more rapidly than others.

An earthquake can happen anywhere, anytime. I hear of lots of people who won’t come near California because we supposedly have a lot of 'em. For the most part, they are relatively speaking harmless, except the really big ones. We build our buildings here to very strict codes because we expect the earth to move underneath them. I’d hate to be in the big apple during a 7.0. The taller buildings would do fine, but hoo boy, would there be a lot of small catestrophes.

To add to what DPWhite says, while CA has some strict building codes relative to earthquake safety, I have heard but cannot confirn that Kentucky and the other states bordering on the New Madrid area do not have any such standards, or if they do such standards are very weak desopite the danger. Thus an earthquake that is moderate by CA standards would result in catastrophic damage and large casualties in the KY-MO area. And this area is the site of the most severe (estimated) earthquake in recorded American history.

As a resident of the state of Tennessee, I can assure you in no uncertain terms that no part of the building code or standards are enforced in any way whatsoever. :eek:

Any knucklehead may pay $50, take a basic test that a child could pass, & become a contracter.

Buildings are routinely constructed with inproper foundations–even ones held up by tempoary jacks, & then left that way! :eek: :eek:

Thev local home care columnist, Walter Jowers, says that he has never heard of any building inspector refusing to pass any building for any reason in Tennessee in the last 15 years.

And nobody gives a damn. :frowning:

When the New Madrid goes off, many buildings *will * fall.
Many people will die.
Any the citizens will all throw up their hands and say it was Ghod’s will, & then go back & do it all over again.

This whole state is cruising for a Darwin Award.

I live about 300 miles east of the New Madrid fault, but I can still remember the panic that many people felt even around here when Iben Barkley made his big prediction about 10 or 11 years ago that there would be a huge New Madrid earthquake. If I’m not mistaken, he thought it would rival in magnitude the quake in the 1810s that many claim would have rated an 8.0 on the Richter Scale had such a scale existed back then. The New Madrid quake of almost 200 years ago was a real hum-dinger, they say. It apparently caused the Mississippi River to reverse course temporarily.

As for myself, I can remember two earthquakes during my childhood. When I was in the sixth grade, which was about 13 years ago, there was a quake measuring 5.0 or so epicentered in the county directly south of where I grew up. I can also remember a minor earthquake my senior year in high school.

I know nothing about your particular fault but generally speaking if you’re getting daily micromovent on the fault then the stresses that might eventually lead to a catastrophic quake never have the opportunity to build.

Daily miniquakes (like Knowledge at Faber College) - good.

Once a century or millennia pent up energy quakes - bad.

Here’s the USGS’s site for current earthquake info. Doesn’t look like California (197 earthquakes in the last week) has to worry about Kansas (2 in the last 6 months) taking over as top earthquake state just yet. :wink: In fact, there were only 64 earthquake in the entire “Central US” in the last 6 months.