Boston College scholar uses Radcliffe fellowship to study earthquake link

Friday, June 16, 2017 - 11:51 in Earth & Climate

He’s an unlikely seismological muse, but Davy Crockett inspired a Radcliffe fellow’s fascination with earthquakes. In his autobiography, the legendary frontiersman described jumping over “earthquake cracks” in his home state of Tennessee while pursuing a bear one night in 1826. Conevery Bolton Valencius was struck by the reference. “I thought, ‘What in the world is this about earthquakes?’” remembers Valencius, an environmental historian and Boston College professor. “How could it be that I got a Ph.D. in history and I study this part of the world and I don’t know much about this? So I started asking.” Those questions led to “The Lost History of the New Madrid Earthquakes,” Valencius’ 2013 book about violent tremors that rocked the central Mississippi valley between December 1811 and March 1812. In the course of her research Valencius noticed online posts from people worried that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, would “set off the New Madrid fault and...

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