Transcript for Earthquake - Risk to the Central U.S., segment 02 of 7

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Earthquake. The word conjures visions of destruction, scenes of suffering and devastation, but it is also one of the great wonders of nature, a phenomenon of immense power and unpredictability. Despite extensive research into earthquakes, our scientists still cannot prevent them nor can they predict precisely when or where they may occur. Yet, with great certainty, seismologists say a major earthquake will occur in the central United States, probably before the turn of the twenty-first century. This is not just speculation. An overwhelming amount of scientific and historical evidence supports this conclusion. The quake will occur, maybe tomorrow, maybe in ten, twenty, or thirty years. To be more precise is still impossible.

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Most people, while watching the nightly news, have viewed scenes of cities ravaged by earthquakes. Yet few have any real concept of how powerful, how errantly destructive a quake can be. Imagine a tornado ripping through your town. Horrible as it may be, it is nothing compared to the power released during a major earthquake. Then imagine thousands of tornadoes tearing through an area as large as several states. If you can grasp the immensity, you are just beginning to realize how a quake can lay waste entire cities, how it can indiscriminately injure and kill hundreds of thousands of people. Remember, there is no guarantee a tornado will rip through your town, but if you live in the central United States, you will experience an earthquake. Exactly where the quake will occur or what communities will be hit hardest is impossible to say.

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