Japan's earthquake has some thinking about regional fault lines

March 15, 2011

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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Could the Midwest experience an earthquake as powerful as the one seen in Japan?

The death toll in Japan currently stands at more than 2,700. While the horrific aftereffects of the earthquake and tsunami are a world away, some geologists think a powerful earthquake could happen here. Illinois is home to the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which produced a 5.2 magnitude quake just a few years ago.

Northwestern University professor Seth Stein has tracked seismic changes in this zone for decades. His book on the topic is Disaster Deferred: How New Science is Changing Our View of Earthquake Hazards in the Midwest. He joined Eight Forty-Eight to dispel some myths and clear up some facts.