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University Relations

University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Great Central U.S. Shakeout Coming Feb. 7

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Jan. 27, 2012) –– A century ago, some of the most powerful earthquakes to ever strike the United States were recorded in New Madrid, located in the southeastern most part of Missouri. As the potential for future earthquakes exists in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, many people across the Midwest will be promoting the need to be better prepared for such a hazard by observing The Great Central U.S. Shakeout 2012.

The largest earthquake drill across the Midwest will take place at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7, giving people an opportunity to practice what to do in an earthquake. Although the University of Central Missouri is not planning a specific activity, Lori Dake, manager of environmental health and safety in the university’s Department of Public, is conducting an information campaign to help spread the word about the need for awareness and proper safety measures to take during an earthquake.

“The most important thing we want to accomplish is to get people’s attention, and get them to start thinking about what to do if an earthquake does occur,” Dake said.

Dake has been instrumental in placing posters around campus that demonstrate three important steps to remember during an earthquake: drop, cover, and hold on. She said that during such an incident, it is important for people to know that one of the safest places is to take cover under a desk, a table or other type of furniture capable of blocking falling debris.

“If we can get people to pay attention to our ‘Drop! Cover! and Hold on!’ message then we will have accomplished our goal for this first exercise,” she said.

Although classes will not be interrupted for the observance at UCM, Dake encourages individuals on and off campus to join in the drill or to at least take note of the simple safety message.

This is the second year for The Great Central U.S. Shakeout. In 2011, there were more than 3 million registered participants in the area that comprises the New Madrid fault system: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. Similar observances were initiated previously in other parts of the United States, including California.

The New Madrid Seismic Zone is a source of intraplate earthquakes, which is an earthquake that occurs in the interior of a tectonic plate. Experts believe earthquake hazards in the New Madrid region are a potential concern. This fault system was responsible for an earthquake on Dec. 16, 1811 that reached 7.2 to 8.2 on the Richter scale. Two other quakes followed, one on Jan. 23, 1812 scaled at 7.4 to 8.6, and one on Feb. 7, 1812 that reached 7.4 to 8.6 on the Richter scale. Earthquakes that achieve a seven rating can cause major damage to all buildings, causing foundations to shift, broken pipes, and ground cracks. Anything above a seven can result in much more severe damage.

Individuals who want to know more about The Great Central U.S. Shakeout may contact Dake at 660-543-4123.