EIS Council • Black Sky - Seismic Event – High Magnitude Earthquake
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Seismic Event – High Magnitude Earthquake

In many regions of the United States and other nations, earthquakes risk causing substantial physical disruption, with associated long duration power outages. The New Madrid seismic zone exemplifies these risks. The New Madrid fault roughly parallels the Mississippi River, and produced a 7.7 earthquake in 1812. 

A recurrence of that earthquake today would damage or destroy many hundreds of electric substations, high voltage transformers and transmission lines, generators, and other grid components over a multistate region including Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and potentially other States.  The Department of Energy has assessed that such an event would not only disrupt power in the New Madrid region but far beyond, with outages potentially affecting 100-150 million people across the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest United States.