It was dark in the nation’s capital, past midnight, but still several hours before dawn. A gentleman was standing in his room next to a desk where he had been writing. He began to wonder if he might be dizzy. The room seemed to be moving. The mirror and other items suspended from the walls and ceilings were moving. Many days later he learned what caused the movement was something that happened more than a thousand miles away in Missouri – an earthquake that’s been called the worst in recorded history. Some earthquakes are just grinding shocks caused by movements of the earth’s crust. Tremors which were part of the new Madrid earthquake, however, were felt for months. Scientist Jared Brooks of Louisville, Kentucky, counted 1,874 in the three months after the first tremblings. Eight of those jolts he classified as violent and ten as severe. How violent? Allen Benson, a geologist, wrote that one of those eight violent shocks had about fifteen times the intensity of the shocks that leveled San Francisco in 1906.

AOWM – December 16, 2005