I have an idea to write something about my interest in earth changes (generally) and earthquakes (specifically), and how that all came about. I started to do this at the end of January this year when some USGS seismologists published their study in Science on continued earthquake activity in the New Madrid Seismic Zone.
Once I got going on this project, it became clear that I was trying to cram too much into the first post, so, to start off, I'll just do more of an introduction, and share some of the recent USGS info. The New Madrid fault is part of the holler's seismic neighborhood, as I see it -- it's the closest, largest, most active and historically significant one as far as I know.
Starting with this USGS isoseismal map, I added the approximate location of the holler in relation to the epicenter and intensity zones.
When I moved to Tennessee in the fall of 2000, I took the most direct route between Grants, New Mexico to Knoxville along Interstate 40, which of course took me through the heart of the New Madrid Seismic Zone. I already knew much of the history of the 1811-1812 earthquakes, but mind-boggled as I was by details and logistics of the move itself, I hadn't really thought much about it. Checking maps often along the route, however, I couldn't help but notice references to natural features associated with the New Madrid quakes as I crossed into Tennessee -- like Reelfoot Lake, for example.
Frog Pond Holler has more local seismic connections as well. The landforms of the Elk Valley area of Campbell County owe their appearance to movements along fractures in the Earth's crust long ago. The holler is in the same block, so to speak, as "the high-angle Terry Creek fault, which strikes N. 40o W. from the junction of the Pine Mountain and Jacksboro fault zones."1
Base map and caption source for this slide: USGS Professional Paper 572, p. 2 (1968)
My interest in earthquakes took a quantum leap following a dream I had in 1976. My proximity to the New Madrid Seismic Zone and the geologic history of the place on Earth that I call home has kept that interest very much alive.
In my next post, I'll share the dream and the experiences that began to unfold after that.