February 08, 2012

More than 450,000 Missourians participate in ShakeOut earthquake drill

Feb. 7 drill held on 200th anniversary of largest earthquake in state history

Feb. 7, 2012 was the 200th anniversary of the largest earthquake ever to hit the central United States. To mark the event, more than 2.4 million people in nine states, including more than 450,000 in Missouri, participated in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake drill. 
The drill, which took place simultaneously throughout the region at 10:15 a.m. Feb. 7, instructed participants to "Drop, Cover, and Hold On” – drop to the floor, cover yourself under a desk or table, and hold on to it until the shaking stops.

"The second ShakeOut was a tremendous success, and an important preparedness drill for Missourians," said State Emergency Management Agency Director Paul Parmenter. "Unlike tornadoes and floods, an earthquake comes without warning. Since many Missourians live in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, it is very important to be able to react immediately to protect yourself and your family.”

ShakeOut participants included more than 358,000 school children, teachers and staff throughout Missouri. Hundreds of businesses, hospitals, colleges, non-profit and government organizations were also included.
The ShakeOut was coordinated by the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC). In addition to Missouri, other participating states were Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
The New Madrid Seismic Zone, centered in southeast Missouri, is the nation's most active earthquake zone east of the Rocky Mountains. Three of the largest earthquakes in the continental United States occurred in the region from1811-12. The largest of the quakes was centered in New Madrid and occurred on Feb. 7, 1812. The earthquakes altered the flow of the Mississippi River, turned rich farmland into fields of sand and destroyed countless structures. People on the East Coast of the United States felt shaking and church bells reportedly rang as far away as South Carolina.
The Great New Madrid Earthquakes were followed by aftershocks that continued for more than two years. More than 2,000 shocks were felt at least 180 miles away from their epicenters.  Even now, more than 200 small quakes a year occur in the region.
For more information on Missouri earthquake history, geology and other resources, visit the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency's Earthquake Preparedness page –   


For more information, call 573-751-5432 or e-mail