A 3.8-magnitude earthquake that struck 40 miles northwest of Chicago today surprised many who don't associate quakes with the Midwest. But as Security Management Assistant Editor Joseph Straw wrote in a March 2008 article, though rare, "earthquakes in the Midwest pose a greater danger than earthquakes in the West because of soil types and building code."
Straw reported then that "Aware of the risk, eight states in the region formed the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) in 1984 to coordinate preparedness for a major quake—which is considered magnitude 5.5 or greater. Then, last year the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), reminded by Hurricane Katrina that worst-case scenarios do materialize, launched the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) Initiative to assess preparedness and coordinate planning."
A barely palpable, 2.3 quake struck near Cairo, Illinois, in November 2007.
Read the full article from the archives: "The Question of a Heartland Quake."