Congresswoman Emerson Calling for Quake Exercise in New Madrid Fault Zone

SEPTEMBER 28, 2005 - Posted at 3:24 p.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS, MO - Earthquake experts agree it's a matter of time when, not if, another major quake strikes along the New Madrid Seismic Zone.  In the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, two members of Congress say it's time to get ready.

U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson and Senator Jim Talent, both Republicans from Missouri, today asked Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff to organize an emergency response drill in anticipation of a potential earthquake that could devastate a region from Memphis, Tennessee, to St. Louis.  The exercise is sought within the next year.

Earthquake experts say there is a greater than 90 percent chance of a quake measuring at least 6.0 along the New Madrid Fault in the next 25 years.

The New Madrid Fault is a deep network of fissures in the earth's crust running from southern Illinois to northeast Arkansas.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)