Should Memphis Build for California Style Earthquakes?

The federal government is urging Memphis and other parts of the Midwest to adopt a new building code that would make buildings as earthquake resistant as those in southern California, where shaking is much more likely to seriously damage a building. A new study by researchers at Northwestern University, the Reaves Firm in Memphis, and Los Alamos National Laboratory finds that the prescribed measures for the Midwest’s New Madrid seismic zone (NMSZ) would cost far more than the damage prevented. The New Madrid seismic zone includes parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, and Mississippi.