The New Madrid Fault Zone: Geology, Engineering And Emergency Management To Reduce Earthquake Risks

Friday, June 29, 2007
Room 2325 Rayburn
2:00 to 3:00 PM

The New Madrid fault zone is an area of active earthquakes that lies beneath five states - Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas. A series of very large magnitude earthquakes occurred on the fault zone in 1811 and 1812. The events changed the course of the Mississippi River, destroyed lakes, created new lakes, destroyed large areas of forests and "swallowed" houses in New Madrid, Missouri, one of the few populated areas during that time.

Today, about 200 small earthquakes occur along this fault zone each year although most of them are not noticeable. The probability of a magnitude 6.0 or larger earthquake occurring in this seismic zone within the next 50 years is estimated to be between 25 and 50 percent. An earthquake this size or larger would be expected to cause widespread damage in a 7 to 8 state area and affect more than 12 million people. This briefing will discuss efforts to understand the geology, monitor the seismicity, enhance the earthquake engineering and prepare for a possible damaging natural event to lessen the impact on the growing community.


Opening Remarks:

The Honorable Russ Carnahan (Missouri, 3rd District), member of the Congressional Hazards Caucus


Jack Hayes, Director of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, National Institute of Standards and Technology


Arthur Frankel, Coordinator for Earthquake Effects Research, Denver Federal Center, USGS
What We Know About Earthquakes in the New Madrid Fault Zone in Mid-America

Amr Elnashai, Director of the Mid-America Earthquake Center, and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The Role of Earthquake Impact Assessment in Mitigation, Response and Recovery

David Maxwell, Director of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management
Planning, Preparing and Responding to Earthquake Risks in Mid-America

Speaker Biographies

Dr. Jack Hayes is the Director of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). Previously, Hayes worked for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and for the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center's (ERDC) Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) in Champaign, IL. Hayes collaborated extensively with the earthquake engineering program at NSF and has been directly involved with a number of significant earthquake mitigation projects for FEMA. Hayes is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and is a registered Professional Engineer in Florida and Virginia. He has earned three degrees in Civil Engineering including a B.S. from the Virginia Military Institute, an M.E. from the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Art Frankel is the Coordinator for Earthquake Effects Research for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earthquake Hazards Program and a seismologist with the Geologic Hazards Team of the USGS in Golden, CO. He was project chief for the National Seismic Hazard Mapping project of the USGS from 1993-2003 and led the development of the national seismic hazard maps released in 1996 and 2002. He received his PhD. in seismology from Columbia University in 1982. He was a Bantrell postdoctoral fellow at Caltech from 1982-1984 and worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from 1984-1985. He started at the USGS in 1985.

Dr. Amr Elnashai serves as Director of the Mid-American Earthquake (MAE) Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he has worked since 2001. Before then, Elnashai was Professor of Earthquake Engineering and Head of the Engineering Seismology and Earthquake Engineering Section at Imperial College, University of London. He serves as Director of the George E. Brown Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) laboratory at Illinois. Elnashai earned a B.S. in civil engineering from Cairo University, followed by an M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Imperial College.

Mr. David Maxwell was appointed as Director of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) and State Homeland Security Advisor on June 30, 2006. He served as ADEM's Deputy Director from March 2002 until this appointment. In 1978, he began his career in emergency management working in temporary housing for the state after major flooding in Little Rock, Arkansas, and was promoted to Planning Specialist in 1980. Later he advanced to ADEM's Plans and Operations Division Manager. David Maxwell served as the designated State Coordinating Officer for seven federally declared disasters and one federally declared emergency. Mr. Maxwell has been awarded the Governor's Service to the Citizens Award and has been chairman of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) Operations Subcommittee. David Maxwell earned a Bachelor's Degree from Arkansas Tech University and a Master's Degree in Sociology from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.