Earthquake Draws Attention to Fault Lines Near Kentucky

By: Daniel Kemp Email
By: Daniel Kemp Email

The disaster in Haiti reminds of the power of earthquakes.

With some places in Kentucky near two major fault lines, what could those in the Bluegrass could face when a quake hits?

A powerful quake sends a powerful aftershock this morning causing concern once again for the people of Haiti.

"They're in and around buildings and there's still debris coming down and that's the great fear," said Dr. Michael May, a geology professor at Western Kentucky University.

For years, Dr. May has studied earthquakes and their effects on our region.

"Bowling Green is just directly east of the New Madrid zone," he said.
Bowling green sits on the outside edge of a high-risk seismic zone.

The area felt a quake in April of 2008.

"It work me up at five in the morning, as it did a lot of people and that was a little over a 5," Dr. May said.

In comparison, the quake that devastated Haiti registered a seven, and May say it was about 900 times more powerful than what Bowling Green felt.

But could living so close to two fault lines back in the states have us dealing with something similar?

"We're not really as concerned as if we were living in Louisville, Henderson, Owensboro, Paducah, Memphis, St. Louis -- places like that," Dr. May said.

Still, he says the likelihood of a moderate quake is still very real.

"What we're concerned about are these 6's, mainly because some of our older buildings were not constructed with that seismic risk in mind."

Doctor May says one area that needs more study in Bowling Green involves sinkholes.

May says Bowling Green has a lot of them and they could have the potential to create some risks if a strong enough earthquake or aftershock hit.


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