Vernacular Science of the New Madrid Earthquakes: Creating Knowledge in the Early United States

Conevery Bolton Valencius

Chemical Heritage Foundation

Friday, March 15, 2013 7:00 pm EDT

Time: 6:00-7:30pm Location: Chemical Heritage Foundation In the winter of 1811-1812 massive earthquakes shook the middle Mississippi Valley. The earth cracked, huge sand blows spurted liquefied sand, and the Mississippi River ran backwards. What we now call the New Madrid earthquakes frightened and fascinated people across North America. Valencius's presentation argues that the intense public interest and discussion surrounding these now-forgotten earthquakes reveal the busy and engaged world of scientific thinking and scientific inquiry in the early United States. This lecture is the keynote address for the 9th annual meeting of the Workshop for the History of Environment, Agriculture, Technology, and Science (WHEATS).