Experts: Northeast Arkansas Schools NOT Prepared for Earthquake

JULY 18, 2006 - Posted at 3:16 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Scientists and engineers are warning the northeast Arkansas area to be prepared for an earthquake and retrofit schools and bridges in the region.  The latest research shows a 25 to 40 percent chance of a magnitude six earthquake happening in the next 50 years along the New Madrid fault.

Dan Cicirello of the Governor's Earthquake Advisory Council says the group is very concerned about the unreinforced, masonry buildings in northeast Arkansas.  He says thousands of children attending schools in the area will be left unprotected if the buildings are not improved.  Only about seven or eight schools have been retrofitted to withstand a substantial earthquake.

The New Madrid fault runs from Marked Tree through Memphis and St. Louis and into southern Illinois.

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