"So we need to look at the ‘big picture' of interacting faults, rather than focusing only on the faults where large earthquakes occurred in the recent past."
When Quakes Swarm: Are Quakes Contagious?
Southern Missouri experienced at least two other major shake-ups in the past 2,000 years between 800 and 1000 AD, according to a 1996 paper by researchers at the Center for Earthquake Research and Information at the University of Memphis, Tennessee. Another pair of quakes may have shook the areas near what is now Marked Tree and Blytheville, Arkansas, between 1200 and 1400 AD.
"This led scientists to believe that more were on the way," said co-author Seth Stein of Northwestern University in a press release.
"However, high-precision Global Positioning System measurements in the past two decades have found no significant strain in the New Madrid area. The China results imply that the major earthquakes at New Madrid may be ending, as the pressure will eventually shift to another fault," said Stein.