The U.S. Geological Survey plans to begin conducting low-level flights across sections of Missouri, Arkansas and Tennessee this week looking for additional information about the New Madrid earthquake fault zone.
The USGS begins the flights Wednesday over a 1,400-square-mile area across southeastern Missouri, northeastern Arkansas and western Tennessee. The flights are expected to last for about a month, the USGS said Tuesday in a release.
The red and white single-engine Cessna that the USGS is using for the study is equipped with instruments that measure the magnetic field of the earth and underground rock formations to help locate concealed faults in the New Madrid seismic zone. The information from the survey is also expected to provide a better understanding of the region's overall geology and hydrology.
The New Madrid area has been the most seismically active U.S. region east of the Rockies for decades, the USGS said.
While there's no evidence of an imminent large earthquake in the New Madrid region, which is home to several million people, the agency said it has concerns about the possibility of a repeat of the powerful earthquake that hit the area in the 1800s.
It could take up to a year before the survey results are released, the agency said.