Governor declares February Earthquake Awareness Month

By Hannah Ellis

When the month of February is mentioned, the first thought that comes to mind is Valentine’s Day or Black History Month. Now there is another label to add to the second month of the year: Earthquake Awareness Month.

Gov. Steve Beshear declared February as Earthquake Awareness Month in Kentucky.

The Emergency Management Division may have led the governor to the decision, said Michael Lynch, geology technology transfer officer for the Kentucky Geological Survey and former earthquake program coordinator for the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management.

“Each year, we asked the governor to declare Earthquake Preparedness Month or Week, and I’m confident that the Emergency Management Division was again the source of this declaration,” Lynch said.

Lynch said the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which lies in Arkansas and Missouri, can affect parts of western Kentucky.

He said there was a time when the state actually felt the waves of an earthquake, which was in April 2008 in the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone.

“It was felt throughout the Midwest, including Kentucky, and caused minor damage to some older buildings in downtown Louisville,” Lynch said.

Ryan Knott, economics major, said before he took geology, he was not aware of the danger of earthquakes.

“Before this geology class I never considered earthquakes a big deal, but after the lecture about the damage that earthquakes can cause, I was kind of like ‘wow,’ these are something all people should be aware of,” Knott said.

Not many people realize that the small tremor that was felt in the 2008 earthquake had caused any sort of damage to Kentucky.

Susan Kuegel, psychology student, said that earthquakes do not make her nervous.

“All 23 years of my life I have been a Kentucky resident, and I can only recall one earthquake that lasted a minute,” Kuegel said. “But I do think it is good to make people aware of the procedures to follow if one does occur.”