Study of New Madrid Fault Looking at Soil, Bedrock

December 30, 2003 - Posted at 9:18 a.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS, MO - Scientists are studying where a St. Louis-area earthquake might hit, and how to minimize any potential damage.

Geologists are working with Missouri and Illinois agencies to study St. Louis-area soil and bedrock, looking to better map the danger zones and safer places.

The study announced yesterday comes as many scientists and engineers believe the New Madrid Fault beneath Missouri's Bootheel and into Arkansas could produce a significant temblor within the next 50 years.

A series of earthquakes was linked to that fault in 1811 to 1812, with lesser-but-damaging ones in 1843 and 1895.

A geo-physicist at St. Louis University's Earthquake Center says it will assist in designing earthquake-resistant structures and bolstering old ones to make them safer.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)