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.American Free Press
.Vol XII .#16April 18,


Anniversary of
Major U.S. Quake Spurs
Elaborate FEMA Exercise

By Keith Hansen


.In eight months, the bicentennial of a catastrophic two-month period in America’s heartland will be observed. It was approximately 2:15 a.m., Dec. 16, 1811 when what is now known as the New Madrid Seismic Zone served notice it had awakened. When its “reign of terror” subsided, it had produced four principal quakes and 1,800 aftershocks that would forever change topographical features, swallow small settlements, create lakes and cause sections of the Mississippi River to flow backward.
The final principal earthquake on Feb. 7, 1812 destroyed New Madrid, Missouri (then part of the Louisiana Territory), then the largest community in the area, with a population of 400. It had the great misfortune of sitting atop the quake’s epicenter.
Should that area now suffer one or more seven- or eight-magnitude earthquakes—the estimated strength of those that struck 200 years ago—the loss of life and destruction could be horrific.
Today, earthquakes in the New Madrid Seismic Zone pose far more perilous hazards, beyond the destruction of infrastructure and loss of life in that sector alone.
Located within New Madrid’s moderate-to-high-shake zones are some 20 nuclear power plants, a dozen major oil trunk lines and eight natural gas pipelines — oft-forgotten but volatile components that could wreak widespread havoc if ruptured.
An indelible visual of such a catastrophe was offered by Steve Geller, former lead Democrat in the Florida Senate, while speaking to the insurance industry about catastrophic events several years ago.
“Virtually every natural gas pipeline in the nation is built over that fault,” Geller said. “You’ll see the explosion reflected off the Moon.”
But neither that possible devastation nor the anniversary of the 1811 event appears to be the impetus behind the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) planning of its National Level Exercise 2011 (NLE 11), a six-month emergency preparedness program that kicked off April 6.
The exercise, unprecedented in scope, is aimed at preparing local, state and federal agencies in an eight state region to function with little or no loss in continuity should the area be confronted with, as it states in FEMA’s Private Sector Participant Guide, “the catastrophic nature of a major earthquake.”
But why now? Seeking an answer to that question, AFP contacted FEMA’s Office of External Affairs (OEA).
Although failing to grant a direct interview, OEA tersely responded by email as to the timing of this event: “Planning began several years ago.”
This indicates that FEMA, which is conducting its first national-level exercise to simulate responding to a natural hazard, was not motivated by undisclosed information that a catastrophic earthquake was imminent.
Although a catastrophic earthquake may not happen soon, those familiar with the region’s history of seismic activity know the exercise could not have come soon enough.
“The New Madrid Zone is the most active area, in terms of earthquakes, east of the Rocky Mountains,” said David Applegate, Ph.D., U.S. Geological Survey senior science advisor. “Particularly in light of past events and ongoing seismicity, we feel there still is a very real hazard.”
Existing dangers lurking beneath the region were laid out plainly in the article “Earthquake Hazard in the New Madrid Seismic Zone,” which appeared in the August 2009 United States Geological Survey Fact Sheet.
“The New Madrid seismic zone is a source of continuing small and moderate earthquakes, which attest to the high stress in the region and indicate that the processes that produced large earthquakes over the previous 4,500 years are still operating. There is no sign that the rate of these smaller earthquakes is decreasing with time, as would be expected if they were aftershocks of the 1811 to 1812 earthquakes.”
There has been some discussion whether recent activity in the “ring of fire”— most notably the Japan and New Zealand earthquakes — will have an impact on faults in the United States.
Opinions on the issue are, at best, split.
Robert K. Denton, a senior geologist with Geo- Concepts Engineering, Inc. in Ashburn, Va., told AFP, “Even with state-of-the-art technology and the best understanding of plate tectonics, the answer is really nebulous. The truthful answer is: We don’t know.”
But one thing is for sure: Whenever FEMA gets involved, all Americans should be concerned.


SUGGESTED VIEWING: Holes in Heaven? HAARP, Weather Modification, Mind Control & Tesla Technology. Narrated by Martin Sheen. DVD, 50 minutes, #HH, $25 plus $3 S&H. Order from FAB, 645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, #100,Washington, D.C. 20003.



Keith Hansen is a veteran journalist and radio talk show host. His websites can be found at and

(Issue #16, April 18, 2011, AMERICAN FREE PRESS)

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