There are only 4 states that have not experienced an earthquake in the past 30 years: Florida, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Iowa


While many of us have preconceived ideas about what areas of the U.S. are more likely to experience tremors, the largest earthquakes felt in the contguous United States were along the New Madrid Fault in Missouri.  Theses quakes were during a 3-month period between 1811 to 1812 and included 3 earthqakes larger than an 8.0 magnitude on the Richter Scale.


It is important to remember that there is no such thing as "earthquake weather."


Learn more about earthquake preparedness here.


Have an Emergency Supply Kit and Household Disaster Plan in place.


Getting Acquainted


The following terms will help to identify an earthquake:



The fracture across which displacement has occurred during an earthquake. The slippage may range from less than an inch to more than 10 yards in a severe earthquake.



The place on the earth’s surface directly above the point on the fault where the earthquake rupture began. Once fault slippage begins, it expands along the fault during the earthquake and can extend hundreds of miles before stopping.


Seismic Waves

Vibrations that travel outward from the earthquake fault at speeds of several miles per second. Although fault slippage directly under a structure can cause considerable damage, the vibrations of seismic waves cause most of the destruction during earthquakes



A sudden slipping or movement of a portion of the earth’s crust, accompanied and followed by a series of vibrations.



An earthquake of similar or lesser intensity that follows the main earthquake



The amount of energy released during an earthquake, which is computed from the amplitude of the seismic waves. A magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter Scale indicates an extremely strong earthquake. Each whole number on the scale represents an increase of about 30 times more energy released than the previous whole number. Therefore, an earthquake measuring 6.0 is about 30 times more powerful than one measuring 5.0.