Discover the Indiana Town Most Likely to Experience an Earthquake

Written by Kristen Holder
Updated: July 23, 2023
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Key Points:

  • While there is a notable number of earthquakes in Evansville, Indiana, they are not frequent or large enough to cause significant concern.
  • Although not common, impactful earthquakes can occur in this region.
  • The last notable earthquake that hit the town was in 2002 and was a magnitude 4.6.

Indiana has an earthquake index of .12 which is well below the US average of 1.81. This means that the chances of experiencing an earthquake in Indiana are minimal. Despite this, they still happen. Let’s discover the Indiana town most likely to experience an earthquake.

What Indiana Town is Most Likely to Experience an Earthquake?

Clarksville. Indiana. USA

The town of Clarksville in Indiana is the most likely spot in the state to experience an earthquake.

©SevenMaps/Shutterstock.com

Clarksville is the town in Indiana most likely to experience an earthquake. It has an earthquake index of 2.02. This far surpasses the earthquake index of Indiana as a whole.

It’s even higher than the national average. However, it is minuscule in comparison to the earthquake risk in California. Indiana contains two dangerous fault lines, while California has over 200.

Are There Frequent Earthquakes in Clarksville, Indiana?

Earthquake - Seismic Meter

In 1811, a magnitude 8.2 quake struck within a few hundred miles of Clarksville, Indiana.

©Inked Pixels/Shutterstock.com

There are a notable amount of earthquakes near Clarksville, Indiana. However, they aren’t so frequent or so large that they cause much concern. However, that doesn’t mean that impactful quakes can’t happen.

On June 18, 2002, a magnitude 4.6 quake centered in Evansville, Indiana, hit the region. Evansville is about 2 hours west of Clarksville.

Another impactful quake was centered less than 2 and a half hours away from Clarksville. A magnitude 5.4 earthquake hit on April 28, 2008. There were 2 large aftershocks, with the last occurring on May 1, 2008.

Around 4000 years ago, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit Indiana. It was centered in Vallonia, Indiana, which is about an hour northwest of Clarksville. Studies of the geology of Indiana show that earthquakes with magnitudes up to 7.5 have occurred in the past.

Other historical quakes have occurred. A large quake on September 27, 1909, damaged buildings. In 1811, quakes of magnitude 7.2 and 8.2 struck within a few hundred miles of Clarksville. This quake caused extensive damage across the Midwest.

Why Does Clarksville, Indiana, Experience Earthquakes?

Clarksville, Indiana, experiences earthquakes because it is located near two active seismic zones in the Midwest. A small magnitude 2.5 earthquake struck nearby on June 3, 2023. Small quakes like this are normal.

Clarksville is close to the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone. This seismic zone is located in southwestern Indiana and neighboring southeastern Illinois. Nobody knows why active faults exist here though some think it’s part of another fault system to the southwest.

The bigger fault system believed to be connected to the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone is the New Madrid Seismic Zone. This seismic zone is more active, with quakes occurring frequently. Since Clarksville, Indiana, experiences shaking from both seismic systems, residents experience many more earthquakes than the average Indianan.

Discover the Wildlife Near Clarksville

Blue Catfish

Huge blue

catfish

are found in the Ohio River.

©M Huston/Shutterstock.com

Clarksville, Indiana, lies in a drained floodplain created by the Ohio River. While it’s almost 500 feet above sea level, it isn’t hilly terrain like some of the surrounding forests. Clarksville is also a city environment which means some wildlife that isn’t suited for urban life is not present.

Eastern rat snakes are common garden critters found near homes. They’re long at up to 6 feet, but they’re relatively docile and nonvenomous. As their name implies, they eat rats and other pests. 

Blue catfish are fished from the waters of the Ohio River outside of town. Some are huge, with the most giant blue catfish on record for the State of Indiana weighing 104 pounds.

While Clarksville, Indiana, doesn’t see as many deer as in more rural areas, white-tailed deer still thrive in the region. They also cause almost 15 thousand car accidents in the state every year. Deer are frequently spotted in downtown Louisville near Clarksville, so they aren’t afraid of city living.

A more dangerous critter living within Clarksville is the black widow spider. These spiders release a neurotoxic venom that causes severe symptoms. However, they usually don’t kill people.

What Does Wildlife Most Likely Do During an Earthquake?

Since large earthquakes are not common in Clarksville, Indiana, most wildlife isn’t concerned with experiencing earthquakes. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t react when one occurs.

Most wildlife panics. This panic causes some animals to bunker down. Others will freeze in place, and some will try to run to safety. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that says animals detect earthquakes in advance and seek shelter early.

Does Indiana Wildlife Detect Earthquakes?

Lots of people believe that animals predict earthquakes. Scientists have yet to verify this.

Lots of people believe that animals predict earthquakes. Scientists have yet to verify this.

©MD_Photography/Shutterstock.com

While scientists are still trying to prove it, it’s common lore that some animals sense when an earthquake is coming. The common scientific theory is that when an earthquake happens, two main kinds of seismic waves are released simultaneously. Because one travels faster, it may be sensed first.

Some animals and people can detect the first wave that arrives, called P waves. These benign waves hit seconds before the destructive S wave. This may be why some animals grow uneasy or act very strangely seconds before an earthquake.

Animals may detect other subtle hints of earthquakes that humans haven’t figured out. For example, some species may notice variations in electromagnetic fields, slight ground tilting, or groundwater disturbances. There is research underway about the effects earthquakes have on these things though there are no definitive answers.

Discover the History of Clarksville, Indiana

Three bridges over the Ohio River between Jeffersonville IN and Louisville KY.

The bridges over the Ohio River link Indiana and Kentucky in the Louisville Metro Area.

©Thomas Kelley/Shutterstock.com

The Town of Clarksville, Indiana, was created in 1783 CE as part of a land grant given to a war hero named George Rogers Clark. Clark also established Louisville in 1778 CE during the Revolutionary War.

Clarksville is in Indiana, which makes it a part of the old Northwest Territory. It boasts that it is the oldest city in the Northwest Territory. This area of land was acquired by the United States after the war because of the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

Around 22 thousand people live in Clarksville, Indiana, though Clarksville is part of the Louisville Metropolitan Area. This means that Clarksville feels like it’s part of a sizeable city. The border between Indiana and Kentucky lies at the southern end of Clarksville against the Ohio River.

There are a few bridges over the river, but the closest to Clarksville is the Second Street Bridge. This bridge is also called the Clark Memorial Bridge. Once you’ve crossed a bridge from the Indiana side, you’ve entered Louisville, Kentucky.

Where is Clarksville, Indiana Located on a Map?

Clarksville is a town found in Clark County, Indiana, United States. It is neatly nestled along the scenic Ohio River. As a part of the Louisville Metropolitan area, its locals enjoy the benefits of being close to a bustling city nearby.

Here is Clarksville, Indiana on a map:

The photo featured at the top of this post is © MuhsinRina/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Kristen Holder is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics related to history, travel, pets, and obscure scientific issues. Kristen has been writing professionally for 3 years, and she holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of California, Riverside, which she obtained in 2009. After living in California, Washington, and Arizona, she is now a permanent resident of Iowa. Kristen loves to dote on her 3 cats, and she spends her free time coming up with adventures that allow her to explore her new home.

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