Researchers at the University of Missouri are working with counterparts on the other side of the globe to study earthquakes.

Professor Mian Liu with the University’s Geology Department says quakes in northern China share one major characteristic with those that occur in the New Madrid zone: they are considered “intraplate earthquakes,” or earthquakes that happen in the interior of tectonic plates rather than at the edges. Quakes are more frequent in northern China, however, which Dr. Liu says is why studying them there yields more information.

Some of the work deals with the length of time between a major earthquake and an aftershock. Dr. Liu says the research suggests that contemporary events at New Madrid could be aftershocks of the major earthquakes that hit the region 200 years ago.

Other data suggests intraplate quakes move around a region over long periods rather than always occurring in a concentrated area.

Dr. Liu says the Chinese government puts a lot of money into earthquake studies and rates that nation’s work, researchers and equipment as first class. He says the relationship with the University of Missouri is benefitting both sides.

He also says there is plenty of work yet to be done.