4.0 magnitude earthquake hits SE Missouri Wednesday night

Missouri

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. – There was a 4.0 magnitude earthquake Wednesday night just outside of Poplar Bluff, according to the United States Geological Survey website. The earthquake reportedly was felt off and on in seven to 10-second intervals.

The earthquake happened at around 8:53 pm. Many across southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas were able to feel an earthquake Wednesday night. The center of the quake was in northern Butler County, just seven miles southeast of Williamsville, Missouri.

The quake was within what is called the New Madrid Seismic Zone. This zone generated the massive family of quakes between 1811 and 1812 that changed the course of the Mississippi River. Experts believe the New Madrid Zone has been responsible for magnitude 7 to 8 intensity earthquakes about every 500 years over the past 1200 years.

According to a 2019 report from the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration, earthquake insurance coverage dropped to only 14% of homes in the New Madrid area in 2018. In 2000, 60% of homes were covered.

Saint Louis University seismologist Robert Herrmann said Missouri has been spared from major earthquakes in recent years, lulling concerns over possible tremblers. But Hermann said he “would recommend that they still worry about earthquakes.”

“The problems that are here are the same problems that are in California,” Herrmann said. “But earthquake insurance is expensive, and earthquake insurance doesn’t cover everything.”

According to the agency, the Missouri report points to a recent risk assessment that predicted total economic losses of $300 billion if a similarly strong earthquake hits again – the highest total economic loss of any natural disaster in U.S. history.

Insured homes in the region could face as much as $120 billion in damages, and uninsured homes could face another $100 billion.

The U.S. Geological Survey predicts there’s a 7% to 10% chance that an earthquake of that intensity could happen again in the next 50 years. There’s a 25% to 40% likelihood that a magnitude six earthquake or greater hits.

No significant damage has yet been reported.

There were reports of people who felt the earthquake in Missouri and in neighboring states.

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