Update: Governor Beebe approves purchase of seismic monitors

Update: Governor Beebe approves purchase of seismic monitors

The Arkansas Geological Survey wants to know why several earthquakes rocked Hot Spring and Garland counties last month. So the group has installed five seismic monitors in the area.
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Mike Beebe has released $300,000 in General Improvement Funds to purchase six broadband seismic monitors that will detect and locate earthquake activity throughout Arkansas.

The Arkansas Geological Survey will place the monitors throughout the state to improve measuring capabilities in areas between existing stations around the New Madrid Seismic Zone in Northeast Arkansas and those in Oklahoma.

"Although Arkansans may not think about earthquakes often, our proximity to the New Madrid zone makes them a realistic concern for our State," Governor Beebe said. "Our emergency responders already train and prepare for earthquakes. These seismic monitors will give us better information about the small tremors we experience now and help us prepare for stronger earthquakes that could impact Arkansas in the future."

The earthquake data collected by the new monitors will be shared with researchers and the public on a regular basis. The Geological Survey will also post updated maps of recent seismic activity online.

The Arkansas Geological Survey wants to know why several earthquakes rocked Hot Spring and Garland counties last month. So the group has installed five seismic monitors in the area. The goal is get a detailed reading of what's causing the tremors.

"They all shook us, and then it sounded like a large explosion, and then a shockwave right after." Former Hot Spring County Judge Robert Parker is retired now. Earlier this month he was relaxing at home when he felt the earth shake.

“I was sitting on the edge of a recliner, and it knocked me over and I almost sat on my dog; that's how strong it was," said Parker.

In the last month there have been at least five earthquakes in Hot Spring and Garland counties. “They've ranged from 2.0 to 2.7. That's unusual for Arkansas," said Bekki White, Director of the Arkansas Geological Survey.

It's unusual to have so many in such a short amount of time.  So White teamed up with Earthquake Research Center at the University of Memphis to deploy five seismic monitors in the area surrounding Magnet Cove in Hot Spring and Garland Counties.

"We're looking at finding out what's going on, what's going on to the public," said White.

Prior to last month's tremors, the last earthquake was felt in 2001 and registered at a 3.2.  The seismic monitors are on loan from the University of Memphis. White has put in a request with Governor Beebe for permanent Arkansas monitors.

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