MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A series of 2,000 earthquakes hit the Mid-South in 1811 and 1812. Three of the earthquakes were stronger than a magnitude 7. Geologists say the probability of an earthquake of that strength hitting the Mid-South is a 10% chance over a 50 year time span. For a magnitude 6 or greater, the risk increases to a 25%-40% chance in a 50 year time span.
Planning for future earthquakes is essential in the Mid-South. The National Earthquake Conference is being held this week in downtown Memphis. The event will showcase lessons from past earthquakes for future risk reduction. Over 600 people from all over the U.S. will attend to learn about earthquake mitigation and how to plan for a possible disaster.
Gary Patterson, University of Memphis Geologist, says, "We have companies all the time moving into Memphis that want to know what the risk and hazard is."
The conference will also address future plans to retrofit old buildings on South Main Street
"Of the 300,000 structures we have in the county, 6,000 to 7,000 are un-reinforced masonry," says Patterson.
Scientists can't predict when an earthquake will strike, but are sure that wherever one does, it will have impacts on up to 7 surrounding states.
Experts say that in the event of a major earthquake, communication lines will most likely be down. Residents should have a personal preparedness plan that will help you through the first 24 to 72 hours after an earthquake.