16 December 2015

On This Day: Quake shakes America, Great Mississippi changes course

It was On This Day in 1811 that an 8.6 earthquake rattled the earth near New Madrid, Missouri. The quake was so strong that the valley rose and fell and the river – the great Mississippi River – actually changed the direction.

Imagine being woken up from a sound sleep at 2 a.m. to sounds of your house crackling. Your chimney crashes to the floor and the roof collapses in. You run outside and are literally thrown to the ground as the earth shook violently. The trees in the nearby forest fall to the earth and the Earth opens wide in many places. Gases – horribly smelling sulphurous gases – escape from the depths of the Earth. The River – that is the great Mississippi River – rises and falls repeatedly.

Amateur scientist Jared Brooks estimated that between this day in 188 and 15 March 1812, there had been 1874 shocks. Eight of those were considered violent with another ten being considered very severe.

The quake, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), was 10 times stronger than the infamous San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

“Earthquake rocks the American wilderness.” This Day in History, 1811. History.com.

Sikestons Standard (Sikeston, MO) 20 November 1923. Newspapers.com.

Public Domain image on Wikipedia.

On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

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Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.