Residents React to Blytheville Quake

April 30, 2003
Posted at: 7:46 p.m. CDT

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. -- While tremors occur along the New Madrid fault line most every day, most are never felt. Tuesday night was a different story for many in Mississippi County.

At approximately 11:56 p.m., an earthquake measuring 4.0 on the Richter Scale shook up the town of Blytheville.

The New Madrid seismic zone is a place where earthquake scientists say that, during 1811 and 1812, some of the largest quakes ever to occur in North America struck. While Tuesday's tremor could not be compared to earthquakes from the 19th century, area residents did feel the earth move.

"It felt like somebody picked my apartment building up and slammed it back down," Blytheville resident Lori Boesen said. "It was that fast and then it was over. I could hear it coming."

Kenny Burge said that the minor quake was cause for concern: "It kinda shook me up, made me worry a little bit."

According to seismologists from the Center for Earthquake Research and Information in Memphis, Mississippi County was hit with one of the deepest earthquakes in nearly seven years. The epicenter was located one mile west-northwest of the Blytheville city limits, and 24 miles below the surface.

Experts say Tuesday's tremor in the New Madrid zone should serve as a reminder for Region 8 residents.

"I always urge our residents to stay as prepared personally to be on their own for up to three weeks, you know stock up their family disaster supply kit," said county emergency

Seismologists say this earthquake was felt primarily in northeastern corner of Arkansas. It was also felt to some degree in areas of west Tennessee, and as far away as Poplar Bluff, Missouri.