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Other Threats

Emergency Preparedness for Earthquakes

By now everyone in the state is familiar with the New Madrid Earthquake zone and the potential it has for creating a major catastrophe, not only for Tennessee but also for much of the country. In addition, there is an unnamed and largely undescribed earthquake zone that roughly parallels Interstate 75 from Chattanooga to near Knoxville. So, earthquakes are a concern for citizens in more than just the western part of the state. A major earthquake represents what would potentially be the largest natural disaster ever to occur in the state of Tennessee. Some estimates suggest that a major earthquake in the New Madrid zone would be a nationwide catastrophic event, largely due to the interruption in transportation, communications, fuel supply, and the economic consequences that would be experienced as a result of damage to the infrastructure.

You can get an idea of how much more devastating a Central U. S. earthquake could be to the county by comparing the extent of damages from a 6.7 event in Northridge, California. This picture shows that an earthquake similar to that quake could cause major damage across a wide area.  

USGS Earthquake Information