PACKET RADIO: Ohio Earthquake Information

Steve Wolf, W8IZ@W8IZ

(This text from the W8IZ packet radio bulletin

board. It's formatted to fit a 80 character screen.)

Steve, NO8M...This is in reply to your 12/27/90 transmission.
First, I'm a civil/seismic/structural dynamics engineer in
the nuclear power industry.  If an earthquake should occur,
probably the safest place to be would be in a nuclear power
plant, since they are specifically designed to resist and
withstand earthquakes.
Past national and international experience has shown that
buildings are the main source of killing and injuring people
in an earthquake.  There is a saying, "Earthquakes don't kill
people, but buildings do" !  At a MMI level of VIII and
above, one can expect many injuries and deaths due to
collapse of buildings, particularly collapse of brick and
masonary buildings.  The main concern is that in the central
and eastern United States, buildings and other structures are
not designed for earthquake resistance.  If you refer to the
ARRL Ohio Section Journal, Fall Issue of 1990, You will see a
2-page special report that I wrote on this matter.  It
discusses other possible effects.  Also, in the same issue, I
had written a short article on Ohio's population distribution
which may be helpful.  Half of Ohio's population is
concentrated in only 8 counties, and 75% is in only 26
counties (out of the total 88).  The most concern of strong
shaking would be where most of the people live in the MMI
VIII area and specifically in larger towns and big cities.  A
copy of the Journal or articles can probably be obtained from
N8AUH (ARRL Ohio Section Manager) or N8AEH in Findlay
(Journal Editor), or through your local club.
I would say that in Ohio, in accordance with the USGS worst-
case prediction of MMI levels based on a 8.6 M recurrence on
the New Madrid fault, the worst hit area would be in SW Ohio.
But, to give you more precise information from the USGS
published map, the MMI VIII level area in Ohio is bound by
lines drawn roughly between the following towns, give or take
a few miles: Starting on the Ohio-Indiana border...
Greenville, Springfield, London, Columbus (appears as the
most southern part), Newark, Zanesville, Athens, Portsmouth.
On the Ohio-Indiana border, near Eaton (Preble County), the
MMI level of IX from Indiana just touches the border and
possibly extends across the border into Ohio by a few miles
just short of Eaton or to Eaton.  If the USGS prediction is
correct, it would be at this point where the strongest
shaking occurs in Ohio.
Let me put it this way.  I work on the 19th floor of a
building in Columbus.  If a 8.6 M earthquake should ever
occurs on the New Madrid fault, I hope that I'm not there on
the 19th floor or anywhere near downtown Columbus !
Hope that this additional info will serve your purpose.
73, Paul N2NS

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