PACKET RADIO: Ohio Earthquake Information
Steve Wolf, W8IZ@W8IZ
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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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