U of M Seeks Funds for Earthquake Observatory in New Madrid Seismic Zone

MARCH 29, 2006 - Posted at 7:57 a.m. CST

MEMPHIS, TN - University of Memphis researchers want to establish an earthquake observatory in the New Madrid seismic zone.

The proposed Earthquake Fault Observatory would give scientists their first-ever close-up assessment of the faults that branch out from near Cairo, Illinois, to Marked Tree, Arkansas.

The obervatory likely would be near New Madrid, Missouri, more than 100 miles north of Memphis and near the epicenter of a series of strong quakes almost 200 years ago.

It would employ sensor-equipped holes drilled deep into the earth.  Researchers now must analyze quakes only after they've radiated through thousands of feet of sediment.

Area officials are lobbying Congress to provide the center up to $2 million from the observatory.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)