Tornadoes, Floods and Now Earthquakes in Tennessee? What You Should Know About the Probability of the Big One Along the Madrid Fault Line

We don’t take our job of helping people lightly.  We are very grateful for all the notoriety we’ve received for our work as trial lawyers fighting for the fair compensation injury victims deserve.  Part of our duty in being able to reach so many folks across Tennessee and the US is to keep them aware of things that can dramatically impact their lives, harm or injure them; or the alternative, keep them safe.  Though sometimes these things are beyond the scope of what we handle under our roof, they’re things you might have to handle under yours one day, so we consider them a priority topic. 

As you know, we’re not particularly fond of insurance companies but depending on where you live in the South, it may be time to add on the ol’ earthquake insurance.  Yes.  You heard us correct. We said earthquake. 

Once upon a time in 1811 and 1812, North America was almost divided by a series of 4 of the largest earthquakes in US history along a very deep subsurface rift. Today, that rift system and the faults associated with it are known as the New Madrid fault line.  This fault zone is six times larger than the San Andreas fault zone in California and it covers portions of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. The movement of the ground was so powerful that it changed the course of the Mississippi River and it rang church bells in Boston, Massachusetts. Those earthquakes opened deep fissures in the ground and caused the Mississippi River to run backwards.  It is said that the stench of fire and brimstone hung in the air for months afterwards where the sulfur had been released from the Earth’s core.  

The US Geological Survey also admits that the number of significant earthquakes in the middle part of the country has more than quintupled in recent years.  We also know that in May of 2015, the U.S. government simulated an earthquake of the same magnitude of those that shook the country in 1811.   In the simulation, the quake killed 100,000 people along the fault line, and forced more than 7 million people out of their homes.   Rather than reporting on science and important news you actually need to hear, the test largely fell under the radar of national media as it seemed “far-fetched” according to public perception.  But large corporations like Wal-Mart are so concerned about the potential for a major New Madrid earthquake that they have held earthquake preparedness exercises in stores along the red zone of the fault line.  FEMA’s Associate Administrator, William Carwile, told a Congressional panel in 2010. “[d]irect economic losses for the eight states could total nearly $300 billion, while indirect losses at least twice that amount.” 

Is it time for Earthquake Insurance in West Tennessee

Are You at Increased Risk from Earthquakes?

The Madrid fault line runs along the West Tennessee border.  Ground zero would be Memphis, Jackson, Savannah and out from there.  But remember, in the 1800s the quake along the line rang church bells in Boston, Massachusetts so the reach reportedly caused damage more than 1000 miles away.  Mobile homes and homes not attached to their foundations are at particular risk during an earthquake.  Buildings with foundations resting on landfill and other unstable soils are also at increased risk of damage.

Did You Know?

Doorways are no stronger than any other part of a structure so don’t rely on them for protection! During an earthquake, get under a sturdy piece of furniture and hold on. It will help shelter you from falling objects that could injure you.  

None of us want to think about the possibility of something “unlikely” like this happening- but we have to.  No one thought a tornado could hit a downtown Nashville like it did in 1998. But now we don’t take chances.  What we’re trying to say is bad things happen without warning and there are certain things we can all do to give us a little more peace of mind in the event of an emergency like an earthquake. 

Please visit:


for more information about how you can ready your family with an emergency preparedness plan today. 

At the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm we work together to provide you the most important information in a timely matter, both in the cases of our clients and information you need to live your best life every day.  When everything changes in a moment, our gladiators in suits help injury victims pick up the pieces and fight the big insurance companies for the recovery they deserve.  Whether it’s an auto, truck, or motorcycle accident, an injury-causing dangerous and defective drug or product, or the terrible loss of a loved one due to another person’s or company’s negligence, we are here to help.  Call us today for a free consultation at (615) 425-2500. We fight for you!