Memphis university seeks funds for earthquake observatory

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - University of Memphis researchers want to establish an earthquake observatory in the New Madrid seismic zone.

The proposed Earthquake Fault Observatory for the Central United States would give scientists their first-ever close-up assessment of the faults that branch out from near Cairo, Illinois, to Marked Tree, Arkansas.

The observatory likely would be near New Madrid, Missouri, some 100 miles north of Memphis and near the epicenter of a series of strong quakes 200 years ago.

It would employ sensor-equipped holes drilled deep into the Earth. Researchers now must analyze quakes only after they've radiated through thousands of feet of sediment.

Scientists say quakes like those in the 1800s could kill and injure thousands from St. Louis to Memphis, but they're uncertain about how much strain and movement is occurring along the fault zone.

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