Arkansas Center for Earthquake Education and Technology Transfer

March 31, 1911Earthquake
Southeastern Arkansas

A Richter magnitude 4.7 earthquake occured on Friday, March 31, 1911 at about 10:57 a.m. central time. The earthquake consisted of two or three distinct shocks of several seconds duration depending on ones location. Tremors were reported to have occured at 10:00, 11:00 and 12:00, with the 11:00 tremor being the strongest. The main tremor was centered in an area southeast of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

H.F. Alciatore, director of the U.S. Weather Bureau's Little Rock office, was in the bureau's offices on the tenth floor of the Southern Trust Building. Mr. Alciatore noted that the time was 10:57. Mr. Alciatore at first thought that either an elevator had fell or that a safe had been dropped. Shortly, Mr. Alciatore received a call from W.C. Mans of the Southwest Telephone Company reporting the event. Mr. Alciatore reported receiving 42 telephone calls before 2:00 p.m. Mr. Alciatore asked the callers for their location and their accounts of the earthquake.

The earthquake was most noticeable in Warren where the bell in the courthouse rang during the 11:00 and noon tremors causing the courthouse to be evacuated. Stove pipes in the school building were thrown down causing the children to panic and flee into the street. Articles were thrown off of store shelves.

Residents of Pine Bluff were also severely frightened by the event. At the Jefferson County Courthouse, people panicked and fled the courthouse fearing that it was falling into the nearby Arkansas River. Downtown businesses were deserted.

In Rison, all clocks in town were reported to have stopped. Bottles were broken, flues were down and several brick buildings cracked. In Argenta (now, North Little Rock) plaster was shaken from the high school ceiling. The Arkadelphia Milling Company lost a valuable smoke stack.

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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 2, 1998

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