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The Farrand Families of Missouri and Illinois

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The New Madrid Earthquake Zone

Click *HERE* to see if there has been an earthquake recently on the New Madrid Fault!

It's OUR Fault! 

New Madrid Seismic Zone (USGS)

Have YOU got an earthquake jones like I do? Click here to view the history, written personal observations and studies done on OUR Fault!

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The USGS has a site (click here)with facts on the New Madrid Earthquake Zone

The Mid-Plate Enigma:  Buried miles below the crust of the Ozark Plains and Foothills lies the sleeping giant that is a wrinkle of the North American Plate.   
In December of 1811(8.2), January 1812 (8.2) and February 1812 (8.8), three of the largest earthquakes in North American history occurred in and around New Madrid, Missouri, and in northeastern Arkansas. 
In the late 1970's - early 1980's, geologic "x-rays" in the Mississippi Embayment showed the presence of a "graben" (or "ditch" in German) on the Reelfoot Rift.  This "ditch" appears to have filled with debris from the Mississippi River, and leftovers from the glacial melt and ocean that once covered this area.
The rift began back in Precambrian times, and probably happened when the earth tried to split apart here, and was halted by other natural forces, making it a "failed continental rift".
Rifts are where the earth's crust tears apart, or at the very least, attempts to.  An example of a rift lies below the Atlantic Ocean, as is know to us as the Mid Atlantic Rift.  This area separated South America from Africa, and dragged the North American Plate with it.
The Salton Trough is another rift, tearing the Baja away from Mexico.
The pressure exerted on the Reelfoot Rift is enormous.  It has the pressure of the Mid Atlantic Rift shoving the North American Plate westward, and the back pressure of the Pacific Plates and Caribbean Plates pushing northeast and north. 
What probably happened in 1811-1812 was the failing of the superstrong rocks that were acting as a logjam, holding this rift in place for a over a million years ago.
(Notes were taken from "The Big One" by Jake Page & Charles Officer.  They also referenced a number of publications for their book.)