If a big earthquake occurred in New Madrid, Missouri region, would Ohioans have enough time to be warned before the seismic waves hit the state?
The fastest-moving seismic waves, P waves, travel at about 6 kilometers per second. The Cincinnati area is about 500 kilometers from the New Madrid zone; therefore, P waves from a large New Madrid event would reach southwestern Ohio in a little less than a minute and a half and the more damaging S waves would arrive about a minute later. This would not be enough time to warn people to take cover, but automatic electronic warning systems could be triggered to shut down some critical facilities.
Last update July 20, 2005