MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Earthquake research is facing pending budget cuts that couldn’t come at a worse time. On average, the University of Memphis Center for Earthquake Research detects 200 small earthquakes a year, like a 2.2 magnitude earthquake was felt near Manila, Arkansas on Monday, July 9. Experts say intense earthquakes have happened along the New Madrid fault in the past and will happen again in the future.
Scientists study data from 140 earthquake monitoring stations in the Central U.S. The proposed budget cut is to reduce earthquake funding in 2013 by 20-percent. It will be hard to plan for an earthquake if scientists aren’t able to study them and if there isn’t any money to fix earthquake stations if they are damaged or broken.
Meanwhile, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is holding earthquake drills in central Tennessee to prepare people for an earthquake of 7.7 magnitude or higher. An earthquake that intense would be felt across a dozen states.
Charles Langston, Director of the U of M Earthquake Center, says, “The science of learning how the waves of an earthquake change with distance is very important in learning how buildings will respond.”
Langston fears that a reduction of $11 million would greatly hurt researchers' ability to gather information to better prepare the Mid-South.