Transcript for Hidden Fury, segment 03 of 11


Eyewitness accounts spanned the entire nation east of the Mississippi River. Saint Louis, Missouri, one hundred twenty-five miles from New Madrid, reported severe shaking, badly cracked stone buildings, and hundreds of chimneys thrown down. Similar reports came from the more distant city of Cincinnati, Ohio, three hundred miles away.

The quake's seismic waves traveled right through the Appalachian Mountains to the east. They arrived forcefully on the Atlantic coast, six hundred miles from New Madrid. In Charleston, South Carolina, cracks opened in the mortar of stone buildings. The bells of Saint Phillip's Church rang out for a short time. Clocks stopped working in the coastal city of Savannah, Georgia, where four large shocks were felt. Furniture was tossed about in people's homes.

Further yet from New Madrid, moving furniture woke residents of Washington, D. C., who thought they were being robbed. Shaking interrupted an early morning meeting of Congress. The earthquakes were felt sharply as far south as New Orleans, though local newspapers reported little damage in the city. There was even a report of shaking from the state of Florida. To the north, at least eight shocks were distinctly felt in Montreal, Canada, twelve hundred miles away. All in all, two million square miles, well over half the United States, was shaken by the New Madrid earthquakes. This is the largest area ever known to be affected by any earthquake anywhere on Earth.

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