Strength of New Madrid quakes in doubt

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- A U.S. Geological Survey scientist says the legendary series of earthquakes along the New Madrid seismic zone in 1811-1812 may not be as powerful as previously thought.

The Commercial Appeal reported that USGS seismologist Susan Hough said her findings after years of research indicates that the three main quakes between Dec. 16, 1811 and Feb. 7, 1812 were probably no more than magnitude 7, not the magnitude 7.7 or more previously estimated.

The estimated magnitude her research suggests is still very high -- the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 in Haiti was magnitude 7.

Information from: The Commercial Appeal


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