Tennesseans Have Online Resource to Prep for Catastrophic Earthquake


The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency’s website has tips for what Tennesseans can do before, during, and after any major earthquake that hits the state.

That website, www.TN.gov/tema, offers in-detail instructions on earthquakes and other threats to Tennessee residents.

“We would encourage people to get educated about the threat (of an earthquake) and what they need to do,” said TEMA spokesman Dean Flener.

The website, for instance, publicizes what is known as the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills, scheduled for Oct 17.

The people responsible for the event say it will help people prepare to stay safe during any big earthquake and also help them review and update any emergency preparedness plans, according to TEMA’s website.

“We have been engaged in earthquake awareness since the mid 1980s,” Flener told The Tennessee Star Monday.

“The Tennessee Catastrophic Plan includes a special section just for catastrophic earthquakes. Every year we do the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut where we tell people this is what you can do to protect yourself in an earthquake. So, it’s been many many years that we have been promoting earthquake preparedness and what people should do in terms of strapping your bookcases to your wall, securing your water heater to your wall, securing your entertainment center, and your TVs.”

As The Star reported last week, Tennessee also lies along the East Tennessee Seismic zone.

Members of the Memphis-based Center for Earthquake Research and Information told The Star last year that a large-magnitude earthquake in the central part of the United States would jolt Tennessee and do far more damage here than another similar-sized quake out west could do to California.

That’s because Tennessee and California have different type terrains and that makes all the difference.

Gary Patterson with the Center for Earthquake Research and Information said last year that Tennessee earthquakes cause more catastrophic damage.

“If you take the same magnitude earthquake in the central United States in Tennessee versus California then the one in Tennessee will be felt over a five to 20 times larger area. You get more bang for your buck,” Patterson said at the time.

“The deep geology here is much different. We are talking 10 to 20 miles deep here. Compared to California, the deep geology here we have is hard, cold dense rocks that transmit seismic energy and vibrations very efficiently. The vibrations go out over huge areas. In California the deep rocks are relatively hot and shattered. The seismic energy dissipates quicker.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]





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