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On this day: February 7

POSTED: 04:01 PM PST Feb 06, 2013    UPDATED: 11:00 PM PST Feb 06, 2014 

The Mississippi River is rocked by earthquakes, Baltimore burns, Chaplin debuts "The Tramp," The Beatles arrive in America, and space shuttle astronauts make the first untethered spacewalk, all on this day.

OTD February 7 - New Madrid
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Public domain

1812: The strongest in a series of earthquakes strikes New Madrid, Mo. The three-month series started on Dec. 16, 1811, in the central Mississippi River valley and the quakes were felt hundreds of miles away. All were powerful, about magnitude 7 to 7.5, with many aftershocks. The last quake destroyed the town of New Madrid and severely damaged homes in St. Louis, toppling chimneys. Contemporary reports state that the ground rose along the fault, causing temporary waterfalls on the Mississippi River, creating waves that rolled upstream, and forming Reelfoot Lake by obstructing streams in what is now Lake County, Tenn. The earthquakes that struck the region remain among the most powerful earthquakes in the United States and the New Madrid fault remains a concern today.

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