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What is Arkansas' risk for a major earthquake?

The Arkansas Geological Survey tells KATV they are keeping their eye on the New Madrid Seismic Zone that has the potential to threaten several states, including Arkansas. (MGN Photo)

The Natural State has felt its fair share of earthquakes, but the Arkansas Geological Survey tells KATV they are keeping their eye on the New Madrid Seismic Zone that has the potential to threaten several states, including Arkansas.

Martha Kopper, a geologist with the Arkansas Geological Survey who has studied earthquakes for decades, firmly believes that Arkansas could see an event similar to the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that jolted Mexico on Tuesday.

“A magnitude of a 6 occurs about every 100 years and the last occurred in 1895, so we are overdue for a 6,” said Kopper.

In the past, the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which runs directly through Blytheville, Arkansas, has been the source of a series of powerful earthquakes with magnitudes that have measured over 7.5.

“Scientist did some research and determined that the basement started rifting apart but never completely rifted apart,” said Kopper .

Kopper says that active fault could be what shakes up Arkansas in the near future.

“It is a significant threat in the center part of the United States,” said Kopper.

On the heels of the devastation in Mexico, Jefferson County communities practiced their catastrophic earthquake response plan Wednesday.

"Everyone knows it’s an important time for us to make sure that we are up to date in everything that we need to be doing. If anything were to happen in our area, we would be ready,” said Jefferson County Judge Henry "Hank" Wilkins IV.

October 19th is national shake out day, a day dedicated to practicing earthquake response plans. To register, you can visit their website.

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