Arkansas Center for Earthquake Education and Technology Transfer

December 5, 1985
Blytheville area

A 3.9 Richter magnitude earthquake lasting about 30 seconds struck the Blytheville, Arkansas area at about 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 5, 1985. The epicenter was determined to be about 5 miles southwest of Blytheville in Mississippi County, Arkansas.

Joe Musick, Mississippi County emergency services coordinator, who lives about one mile from the epicenter stated that the earthquake felt "like a truck plowed into the house." The quake was felt in Luxora, Osceola, Gosnell, and by the air traffic controllers in the Blytheville Air Force Base control tower. Although the earthquake rattled windows, no injuries or damage was reported.

Immediately following the earthquake, hundreds of individuals jammed vital telephone lines causing the dial tone to be delayed for over one minute. Joy Dunlap, a reporter with KHLS radio in Blytheville, stated; "our phone has been lit up like a christmas tree ever since about 5 o'clock." Most callers wanted to report what they felt and wanted officials to predict when the next earthquake would occur. One caller described that their "stove was dancing around." Calls were still being received as late as 1:00 a.m. Friday.

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Arkansas Earthquake Center
College of Science and Engineering Technology
2801 South University
Little Rock AR 72204

(501) 569-8223

Last Updated: October 9, 1998

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