Arkansas State University


Markham Howe
Sara McNeil
Gina Bowman

(870) 972-3056
fax (870) 972-3693

More information:

Links to News Releases
& Announcements

Campus Calendar
Public activities at ASU

About ASU
Overview, history
and more

ASU receives $4,000 grant from State Farm for regional earthquake conference

Dec. 7, 2009 -- Arkansas State University has received a $4,000 research grant from State Farm Insurance in support of a regional earthquake conference to be held Tuesday-Wednesday, February 2-3, 2010.

(From left) Tommy Reese, State Farm agent; Gordon Metzgar, State Farm agent; Skip Highfill, State Farm agent; Dr. David Beasley, dean of the College of Engineering at Arkansas State University; Dr. Ashraf Elsayed, ASU assistant professor of Civil Engineering; Dr. Shivan Haran, ASU assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering.

The conference will bring in experts and researchers in the field of seismology, geology, and engineering to present the latest in earthquake research and response issues in the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) regarding the threat of earthquake.

The conference is being coordinated by Dr. Ashraf Elsayed, assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at ASU.  Dr. Elsayed has been involved as an engineer in geological and seismic studies for a number of years, and served as an engineering consultant for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.  He and Dr. Shivan Haran, assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering, are currently involved in soil stability and liquefaction research funded by a State Farm grant for the Jonesboro area.

A number of noteworthy presenters are scheduled to participate in the two-day event.  Among those speaking will be Gary Patterson, a director at the Center for Earthquake Research and Information at Memphis University; well-known seismologist Dr. Haydar Al-Shukri, chairman of the Department of Applied Science at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock; earthquake research specialist Dr. Brady Cox, of the University of Arkansas, who has studied major quakes around the world; Dr. Shahram Pezeshk, department chair of Civil Engineering at the University of Memphis; Brian Blake of the Central United States Earthquake Consortium; and many others who work as engineers, emergency response experts, geologists, and in other related fields.

Speaking for State Farm, spokesman Gary Stephenson stated, “We all know about the New Madrid Fault, and the major quakes two hundred years ago. State Farm is well aware that northeastern Arkansas continues to experience seismic movements regularly. This is not about raising alarm, but it is about raising awareness, and increasing knowledge on a subject important to everyone who lives and conducts business in this region.” 

The New Madrid Seismic Zone includes eight states—Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, and Alabama.

Researchers estimate the 1811 and 1812 New Madrid quakes, which reversed the flow of the Mississippi River and formed Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee, registered magnitudes in the range of 7.5 – 8.0.  A quake near Marked Tree in 1843 was estimated to have a magnitude of 6.0, and a quake in Charleston, Mo., in 1895, has also been placed at an approximate 6.0 magnitude.
Those interested in more information on this conference should contact Dr. Elsayed at (870) 972-2088 or through e-mail at


# # #


  NewsPage:  |  Back to TOP  |