It is a little known fact that three fault lines run through the county. One runs under the lake near Horseshoe Bend Parkway, another is near south Route 5 and the last is in the eastern part of the county.


It is a little known fact that three fault lines run through the county. One runs under the lake near Horseshoe Bend Parkway, another is near south Route 5 and the last is in the eastern part of the county.
The three aren’t as large as the more well-known seismic faults like New Madrid, but an earthquake there could set off a ripple of disasters for the county.
Scientists predict the next big earthquake will occur – at a magnitude of 6.0 or greater within the next 50 years – in the New Madrid Seismic Zone.
If an earthquake of the magnitude starts near the Bootheel, the effects will still be felt here at the lake because of the state’s type of rock and soil, Camden County Emergency Management Director Denise Russell said.
Russell predicts damages to framed buildings, old bridges, roads and brick buildings among many problems.
The problem is, earthquakes don’t come with a warning before they strike.
Russell explained the state’s emergency plan is contingent on the earthquake striking New Madrid, the same place a series of earthquakes struck between 1811-1812.
Those earthquakes ranged in magnitude from 7.0 to 8.1 and reportedly changed the Mississippi River’s path and destroyed the town of New Madrid, where the epicenter was located.
Now, if the next magnitude 6.0 earthquake started farther north on the 150-mile long New Madrid fault line, for example, in Johnson County, the impact will be  much greater here at Lake of the Ozarks, Russell said.
Damaged buildings, river bends can cave in, lake water can literally slosh around with the movement and cause a number of problems including landslides.
“It’s why I think it will be worse here,” Russell said.
Once a large earthquake starts in another part of the state, adjoining seismic zones all have to settle back into place, often starting the ripple effect known as aftershocks.
With the three fault lines that run through the county, the potential could be devastating, Russell said.
“It’s why we’re really pushing people to be prepared for all types of hazards,” Russell added. “If (Hurricane) Katrina taught us anything, it is that 24-48 hours of supplies are no longer going to cut it. People need to be prepared with at least four days of supplies.”
Especially in rural areas such as ours where cleanup is predictably going to take longer.
A lot of the county only has one road in and one road out. If that pavement crumbles in an earthquake or the road is washed out by floods, it may take awhile to get to the homes there, Russell said.
Preparedness is as simple as always keeping a list of items ready in case those emergencies strike, Russell added.
A recommended list can be found on the state’s emergency management Web site, www.sema.dps.mo.gov.
Contact this reporter at deannaw@lakesunleader.com