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Preparing for the Great ShakeOut Drill: Handbook Offers Vital Earthquake History and Preparedness Information to Central U.S. Residents

Preparing for the Great ShakeOut Drill: Handbook Offers Vital Earthquake History and Preparedness Information to Central U.S. Residents

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) encourages people to join the millions in 11 states who have signed up to participate in the April 28, 2011, Great Central U.S. ShakeOut drill. The upcoming 200th anniversary of the New Madrid earthquakes is an opportune time to consider earthquake preparedness and learn about the region’s earthquake history. Go to the ShakeOut website to sign up for the drill, learn preparedness tips and learn how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” during an earthquake.

A newly released handbook from the USGS can assist with preparing for earthquakes in the central United States. “Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country – Your Handbook for Earthquakes in the Central United States” provides detailed information about the threat of earthquakes in this part of the country, particularly along the New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones.

“Everyone has an individual responsibility for earthquake safety, but you’re also part of a bigger community,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “In addition to saving lives, the goal of this drill is to help develop resilient communities that can recover more quickly after natural disasters.  I encourage you to learn what steps you can take to help the places you live and work ride out the next earthquake with minimal impact.”

Putting Down Roots” describes the impacts of historic and pre-historic earthquakes in the region and uses this history to outline impacts of future earthquakes in the country’s midsection. The handbook then gives seven important steps people should follow to prepare for, survive and recover from future earthquakes. The handbook can be found online.

This handbook was assembled in cooperation with the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC), the Association of CUSEC State Geologists (Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee), FEMA, the University of Memphis Center for Earthquake Research and Information, and the Southern California Earthquake Center.

Other versions of “Putting Down Roots” are available for California and Utah and may be found online

The USGS, in partnership with the National Science Foundation and the Southern California Earthquake Center, has been a primary supporter of ShakeOut since the initial drill in Southern California in 2008. The USGS provides ongoing support for ShakeOut exercises across the country and has been a primary funder of the upcoming Central U.S. ShakeOut.

For additional information about the April 28 ShakeOut drill and participating states, visit the ShakeOut website.

USGS Newsroom

More information

Parameter Value Description
Magnitude mb The magnitude for the event.
Longitude ° East Decimal degrees longitude. Negative values for western longitudes.
Latitude ° North Decimal degrees latitude. Negative values for southern latitudes.
Depth km Depth of the event in kilometers.
Place Textual description of named geographic region near to the event. This may be a city name, or a Flinn-Engdahl Region name.
Time 1970-01-01 00:00:00 Time when the event occurred. UTC/GMT
Updated 1970-01-01 00:00:00 Time when the event was most recently updated. UTC/GMT
Timezone offset Timezone offset from UTC in minutes at the event epicenter.
Felt The total number of felt reports
CDI The maximum reported intensity for the event.
MMI The maximum estimated instrumental intensity for the event.
Alert Level The alert level from the PAGER earthquake impact scale. Green, Yellow, Orange or Red.
Review Status Indicates whether the event has been reviewed by a human.
Tsunami This flag is set to "1" for large events in oceanic regions and "0" otherwise. The existence or value of this flag does not indicate if a tsunami actually did or will exist.
SIG A number describing how significant the event is. Larger numbers indicate a more significant event.
Network The ID of a data contributor. Identifies the network considered to be the preferred source of information for this event.
Sources A comma-separated list of network contributors.
Number of Stations Used The total number of Number of seismic stations which reported P- and S-arrival times for this earthquake.
Horizontal Distance Horizontal distance from the epicenter to the nearest station (in degrees).
Root Mean Square sec The root-mean-square (RMS) travel time residual, in sec, using all weights.
Azimuthal Gap The largest azimuthal gap between azimuthally adjacent stations (in degrees).
Magnitude Type The method or algorithm used to calculate the preferred magnitude for the event.
Event Type Type of seismic event.
Event ID Id of event.
Event Code An identifying code assigned by, and unique from, the corresponding source for the event.
Event IDS A comma-separated list of event ids that are associated to an event.

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