Earthquake Preparedness Planning Continues

The ISGS participated in the meeting of the federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) New Madrid Catastrophic Planning project in Champaign, Illinois. This meeting of the Mid-America Earthquake Center, FEMA, George Washington University, Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC), CUSEC State Geologists, and U.S. Geological Survey reviewed the progress and direction of a New Madrid earthquake scenario impact on eight states. The eight states of interest are Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. An ISGS engineering geologist serves as the CUSEC State Geologists' representative for the FEMA planning. Since January, the ISGS has been working with representatives from the eight states in the area to each produce two maps showing how the soils resting on bedrock would behave during an earthquake. Maps showing soil site class for amplification and liquefaction susceptibility were completed and formatted for use in an earthquake loss estimation computer program. The estimation for this project will show impacts in each of the four FEMA regions in the area. This information will also be used as the basis for a New Madrid earthquake exercise in a few years for the eight-state region.

An ISGS engineering geologist made two hour-long presentations at the New Madrid Fault Region Earthquake Preparedness Conference, sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension Office and held in Metropolis, Illinois, on May 6, 2008. The presentations covered the history and impact of earthquakes in the central United States. Handouts included Internet links to various publications related to preparedness and mitigation for homeowners and facilities. The talks and handouts were presented to the 150 participants at the meeting. In conjunction with this meeting, the staff member was interviewed by two different television stations in Paducah, Kentucky, about preparedness and about the April 18, 2008, earthquake in Illinois.

An ISGS engineering geologist also made a presentation to the Illinois Community College Board in Godfrey, Illinois, on the history of earthquakes in the central United States and their impacts. The presentation covered historical events and expected types of damage. Handouts were distributed that included information on evaluating potential earthquake impacts on college campuses and information concerning mitigation techniques.