Small earthquakes in Central Arkansas — just north of Little Rock — shook the ground in parts of Missouri Monday. Meanwhile, State Emergency Officials look forward to the first ever multi-state earthquake drill in April.

State Emergency Management Agency Earthquake Program Manager Steve Besemer says earthquakes in Central Arkansas are a fairly regular thing, however, this one registered as a 4.7, which is bigger than the previous quakes.

Besemer says the initial quake and subsequent aftershocks were felt across Southern Missouri and in some areas even north of there.

He says even though this one was bigger than usual, geologists say these swarms do not necessarily mean they’re leading up to “the big one.” And Missourians know what “the big one” means… The New Madrid Seismic Zone.

It’s going to happen, Besemer says, but no one knows when. He says it could be not in our lifetime, it could be tomorrow. Either way, it’s good to be prepared.

Missouri and 10 other states are participating in an earthquake drill April 28th. SEMA urges all Missourians to be prepared.

According to SEMA, the New Madrid Fault System extends 120 miles southward from the area of Charleston, Mo., and Cairo, Ill. through New Madrid and Caruthersville, following Interstate 55 to Blytheville and on down to Marked Tree, Ark. It crosses five state lines and cuts across the Mississippi River in three places and the Ohio River in two places.

Geological data says the fault is active, averaging more than 200 measured events per year (1.0 or more on the Richter scale), about 20 per month. Tremors large enough to be felt (2.5 to 3.0 on the Richter scale) are noted annually. Every 18 months the fault releases a shock of 4.0 or more, capable of local minor damage. Magnitudes of 5.0 or greater occurring about once per decade can do significant damage and be felt in several states.