Like SF bay area, 6.0 earthquake could happen in Memphis

Like SF bay area, 6.0 earthquake could happen in Memphis
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 file)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 file)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) - The worst earthquake to hit the San Francisco bay area in a quarter century occurred Sunday, and geologists at the University of Memphis Center for Earthquake Research and Information were watching it all unfold on tracking equipment.

"A magnitude six is a pretty significant earthquake, especially if you are close," CERI geologist Gary Patterson said.

CERI staffers say a major earthquake is also of concern for the Mid-South because Memphis is in the New Madrid Fault Zone. The probability of a 6.0 earthquake could be greater than 40 percent in the zone.

"A magnitude six is the big concern is for our older buildings," Patterson said. "Especially during a daytime quake that might affect people in older schools, fire departments, buildings."

Barry Richards grew up in Memphis, but for the past three years he's been stationed at Travis Air Force Base in California. Richards says he and his wife were asleep when suddenly their house started shaking Sunday.

"It was kind of frightening, you know, being asleep, and then all of a sudden you got your bedroom moving, and the house is shaking, and you got the bed shaking and stuff," he said.

Richards says his house was not close enough to sustain any damage but the force of the vibration gave him and his wife a lot to pray about.

To read an interactive earthquake map from CERI, click here.

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