February is earthquake awareness month in Missouri which is ironic since researchers have just released a study saying the state isn't. If a massive quake were to hit the New Madrid Fault Zone, many Missourians would not be prepared based on their research.

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Phys.org just released a study in coordination with the University of Missouri. Since there has not been an earthquake magnitude 7 or higher since the historic 1811 and 1812 quakes, the University of Missouri researchers say there exists "a knowledge gap in earthquake preparedness among people now residing in that area of Missouri".

That complicates another problem. Researchers say Missouri and everyone living along the New Madrid Fault are overdue for a major shaker. The fact that few have apparently developed a family (or even community) plan in the event of a major earthquake is troubling as many could be cut off from resources for a period of time while recovery happens.

A couple years ago, I shared a study done by geologists about what would happen if a 7.7 earthquake were to hit the New Madrid Fault. The statistics estimated are staggering:

Over 2,000,000 would be needing shelter
Over 1,000,000 would be without water
Economic losses would approach $3 billion
Over 7,000,000 would be "at risk"

The USGS says there's somewhere between a 7% and 10% chance we see a quake greater than 7.0 magnitude in the next 50 years. That's a significant enough chance that perhaps we should all take earthquake preparedness month in February a little more seriously.

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