One of the craziest statistics you'll ever hear about Missouri is this one. Of all the earthquakes that have happened in America in recorded history, only Missouri can say it experienced one that shook one million square miles.

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I found this curious Missouri earthquake fact hiding in the details of the Wikipedia page about the 1811 and 1812 New Madrid earthquakes. Here's the mind-blowing fact of how far and wide those legendary earthquakes were felt:

Contemporary accounts have led seismologists to estimate that these stable continental region earthquakes were felt strongly throughout much of the central and eastern United States, across an area of roughly 50,000 square miles (130,000 km2), and moderately across nearly 3 million km2 (1 million sq mi).

It's hard to fathom that kind of earthquake energy. Here's another eyewitness account of that quake mentioned on Wikipedia that would be unbelievable if it weren't true. The 1811 New Madrid quake was so violent it made the birds scream. This is part of John Bradbury's account:

I could distinctly see the river as if agitated by a storm; and although the noise was inconceivably loud and terrific, I could distinctly hear the crash of falling trees, and the screaming of the wild fowl on the river

That is insane. He's not alone in that description. Eliza Jane said she heard "the cries of the fowls and beasts of every species—the cracking of trees falling, and the roaring of the Mississippi".

Why did the New Madrid quake force travel so far?

According to the Wikipedia documentation, it was due to the underlying rock mass of the region that the earthquake force traveled almost uninterrupted such a great distance.

There has quite literally never been an earthquake like it in recorded history and let's hope there never is again. Those 1811 and 1812 quakes occurred when there was much less population living in the area. That's certainly not the case now. I shudder the thought of what a modern day version of this would be like. Let's hope we never find out.

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