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November 2, 2010 / Dave Gorham

Arkansas: Magma On The Move?

Is magma near the surface of the earth a bit more “anxious” near Conway, Arkansas these days? Magma, a molten-rock mixture of gas and solids, is always on the move, but when it’s a bit more active than normal it can cause tremors (aka: earthquakes). Such is the case near Guy, Arkansas (near Conway). The tremors have been minor and are near the bottom of the Richter Scale, however with readings near 2.5 they can indeed be felt  (typically, readings between 2.5 and 3.0 are the smallest quakes felt by humans).

Most of the small quakes are centered just north of Conway. Image: ImpactWeather Gmaps.

Since Thursday of last week, 14 of these minor tremors have been recorded. Additional small tremors have been recorded over the past few months. In an attempt to better understand the quakes, new sensors have been installed throughout the area.

The New Madrid Seismic Zone. Image: Wikipedia.

Much of Arkansas lies within the New Madrid Seismic Zone which includes not only Arkansas but Missouri and southern Illinois, as well. Seismologists have long stated that this area remains unstable and a major quake, like the ones of 1811-1812, are within the realm of possibilities in the future.

Of the recent quakes, geologists say the cause is unclear.

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