Researchers, Office of Emergency Management discuss recent 3.7 earthquake

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A 3.7 magnitude earthquake rattled parts of the Mid-South early Wednesday morning.

People living around Dyersburg, in Dyer County, about an hour and 45 minutes from Memphis, reported feeling the jolts just before 6 a.m.

“We provide real time real time data feeds from our website,” Geologist Gary Patterson said Wednesday afternoon. Patterson and the team with the Center for Earthquake Research and Information have been busy since the earthquake was felt.

“The 3.7 today, which has been upgraded from a 3.6, is a reminder that the New Madrid seismic zone is an active seismic source,” he explained.

Patterson says an earthquake that rattled those around Dyersburg isn’t totally uncommon, but says it should get people thinking.

“We know that at least three large earthquake sequences have occurred here over the last 1,500 years, and those earthquakes, if they occurred today, would be catastrophic. Luckily those are low probability events.”

Back in 1990 there was a scare after self-proclaimed climatologist Iben Browning predicted a large, destructive earthquake would happen along the New Madrid fault line on December 3, 1990.

Schools across the Mid-South closed, and some people even moved from their homes. The scare was all for nothing because no earthquake ever happened.

As we reflect on the earthquake that was felt Wednesday morning, Patterson said there really isn’t reason for concern.

“Today’s earthquake gives us no reason to sound a panic alarm that a big one is coming.”

He said it is a reminder that the fault is active and to be prepared.

“We, this staff, we think about it basically all the time,” Levell Blanchard, deputy administrator for the Shelby County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Office, explained.

He says they’re ready for natural disasters and are doing what they can to educate the public.

“Get your kit. Make sure your family knows how to respond whether they’re at home, at work or at school.”

For information about creating an earthquake preparedness kit click here.

The Center for Earthquake Research and Information also wants to hear from you. If you want to contact them click here. 

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