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Violent Landscapes: Ancient Cataclysms and Coming Catastrophes – Part 1

November 6th 2019

by Daniel Holdings

This is the first installment of a series of articles penned by Daniel in preparation for the 2020 True Legends Conference in Branson, Missouri.

Everybody likes a good disaster movie, especially flicks about natural disasters. There are legendary films about volcanoes like “Dante’s Peak” and “Volcano” with Tommy Lee Jones. Movies like “Twister” left audiences fearing monster storms. There are also films about tsunamis such as the outstanding Norwegian film “The Wave” and an all-time favorite “The Poseidon Adventure”. All of these films did well at the box office and most left the audience stunned at the potential of sudden disaster.

However, being from Southern California, to this author there is no more frightening of an on-screen portrayal than the epic earthquake movie. Having experienced earthquakes firsthand as a teenager growing up in the land of earthquakes, the 1974 movie “Earthquake” still causes me consternation. And of course, the recent blockbuster film “San Andreas” resonated with my previous jitters over real-life seismic upheaval.

Yet, all of these movies were fictional tales, woven to entertain and are easily dismissed. However, a recent real-world conversation with my friend Steve Quayle brought my old aversion to earthquakes front and center.

I’m in the thick of writing my latest book, Midnight Strikes - Judgment Unleashed. Interestingly, the book is based upon several conversations I’ve been having with Steve about the things that the Lord showed him concerning the End Times. I was working on a chapter on the next American Civil War and talking to Steve about what we can expect. In the course of that conversation, the prolific radio host and guest said something that stopped me dead in my tracks.

“There’s a rift, a split, that’s taking place in America. It’s sociological, but it’s also going to be geological because I believe that the physical landmass of our country is going to literally split down the Mississippi. Our country will physically be divided into two parts with a catastrophic earthquake along the New Madrid fault.”

What gave me pause was that I actually saw this happen in my mind’s eye as I was writing my second novel, As The Darkness Falls, and included it in the storyline. I instantly knew he was right, but I’d never thought about it in terms of relating to the coming civil war. However, this splitting of the country also happened in that novel around the same time as a civil war started, also a storyline.

The idea that an earthquake powerful enough to split our country in half is terrifying. Surely this is only an instance of Steve trying to shock the listener in order to provoke thought, right? Not so. What Steve said, and what I illustrated in my novel, is based upon both ancient and modern history and is pertinent to any discussion of Ancient Cataclysms and Coming Catastrophes.

Looming Danger

The New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) stretches some 150 miles in length, north to south, along the Mississippi River and has the potential to cause, according to FEMA, “widespread, catastrophic damage” to eight states. They list those states as being Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. That government agency has stated on the record that this little known fault could result “in the highest economic losses due to a natural disaster in the United States.”

Say what?

That would be bigger than three biggest natural disasters in our country’s history, Hurricane Katrina - $166.3 billion, bigger than Hurricane Harvey - $128.8 billion and bigger than Hurricane Maria - $92.7 billion. By comparison, the Deepwater Horizon Gulf disaster caused $17.2 billion worth of damage and the greatest economic impact because of an earthquake was the Northridge Quake in California, which cost $76.9 billion. For FEMA to make such a statement means that things will get very bad and suddenly.

So is there any historical precedent for such concern?

You bet there is.

There was a series of quakes in that spot in 1811 and 1812 that became known as “The Great Midwest Earthquakes”. They were monsters compared to today’s west coast standards. Seismology wasn’t developed back then but the estimated numbers will leave you shaking your head.

December 16, 1811 - 7.2 to 8.2

December 16, 1811 - 7.4 (Aftershock)

January 23, 1812 - 7.0 to 8.0

February 7, 1812 - 7.4 to 8.6

These quakes were the largest in the contiguous U.S., east of the Rockies. The biggest of the quakes, February 7th, was felt over 1 million square miles. By comparison, it was felt over three times larger an area than the massive 9.2 Alaska quake in 1964. And the “Great” San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was only felt over 50,000 square miles. The February 7th New Madrid quake toppled chimneys in Cincinnati, OH (390 miles away), rang church bells in Charleston, South Carolina (760 miles away), and President James Madison and his wife Dolly felt the ground move in Washington D.C. (875 miles away).

Hell on Earth

The strongest quake caused 125 miles of Mississippi River bluff to collapse, the air was instantly polluted with “earthquake smog” that smelled like sulfur and the night was turned so black that lanterns didn’t even provide adequate light. Huge waves were generated on the river and drowned several people, as well as destroying settlements. Various eyewitnesses described incomprehensible sites like soil liquefaction, fissures ripping open fields, geysers spewing forth water, sand, mud and coal, the ground rolling like waves, seismic tar balls littering the ground, earthquake lights from the ground to the sky, they heard something akin to loud thunder over a large area and both domesticated and wild animals went nuts just prior to the tremors.

Remarkable is the fact that Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee and Lake St. Francis in Arkansas were created by the quakes. But the most stunning development occurred from the February 1812 quake. There were reports that the riverbed of the Mighty Mississippi River was heaved up high into the air giving it the appearance of a “loaf of bread” and movement created at least two distinct waterfalls on the river. Because of the displacement, reports said that the powerful Mississippi itself ran backwards for a time.

Without seismic sensors or other technology, the epicenter of the quakes, depth, etc. are unknown. But at the time, the Missouri town of New Madrid was a thriving and growing center of commerce where 450 residents lived. The devastation thrust upon New Madrid was described as “apocalyptic” and the aftermath of that February quake saw no building left standing. It is assumed that this was indeed the epicenter or very close. Witness reported that the ground simply opened up and swallowed people whole.

The Monster That Lies Beneath

For the longest time scientists thought that these quakes were aberrations and that there were not any significant faults in the area that would cause such a catastrophe to repeat itself. But since 1811 science has come a long way.

It has been determined that these earthquakes were “intraplate” quakes that happen in the interior of a plate instead of the boundaries of a plate-like the San Andreas. Further, the behemoth Reelfoot Rift is now known to exist directly below the Mississippi River in the NMSZ. And as to the old idea that this was some sort of fluke, it turns out that that area formed when North America split from the supercontinent Rodina. The Rift remains “aulacogen”, a scar or area of weakness that wanted to initially separate but didn’t, hence the rift.

As to the idea that these quakes were an aberration, a fluke, this idea too has been reevaluated by seismologists. In the late 1990s, a paleoseismologist stumbled upon a fascinating discovery. Within the five states surrounding the town of New Madrid, Martitia Tuttle began to examine the remains of “sand blows” which appeared during those great quakes. These blows occur when debris is forced through narrow dikes to the surface to form mounds. She made several interesting discoveries.

First, some of the mounds were 200 years old, but some of them were as old as 2,000 years old. She knows this because she and her team discovered remnants of ancient civilizations within the mounds. There were potsherds, spear points, and corn kernels embedded in the blow remains that could be carbon dated. In addition, aside from Dr. Tuttle’s work, science now says that the first earthquake happened in the region some 600 million years ago. Based upon the geologic record, it’s now estimated that huge earthquakes struck this same area in 1450 AD, 900 AD, 2350 BC and even further back.

Consequently the NMSZ is not such a docile place after all.

A Certain Future

As it turns out, what Steve Quayle heard the Lord tell him and what I saw, are extremely possible given the history of the area. In fact, seismologists now say that there’s a 25% to 40% chance that we will see another earthquake along the NMSZ that will be equal to or greater than the 1811 and 1812 quakes. But there is one significant difference when the next quakes hit.

Back in 1811, 35 years removed from the American Revolution, that area was part of the Louisiana Purchase and Missouri had only just become a territory. While there were certainly Native Americans living in the area, the population of New Madrid itself was only 450 people. Because the move out west from the east coast had only just begun, the population of the area was significantly less populated than it is now. As such, the loss of life and damage to property was extremely low.

Today 11 million people live in the NMSZ. The Mississippi River starts at Lake Itasca in Minnesota and the fault line stretches up to Chicago, and almost to the Great Lakes as well. Traveling south, the NMSZ goes all the way down the river to almost the Gulf Coast. Along the way, there are huge metropolises filled with people and property, Chicago, St. Louis and Memphis to name just a few.

When the next significant quake hits, the loss of life and destruction will be beyond comprehension. In addition, we’re entering into a season of great quakes. If what both Steve and I saw is any indication, the next New Madrid quake will be one of the greatest of them all. The end result will be a nation torn in half by a sudden and violent rift, the likes of which the modern world has never seen.

The New Madrid Seismic Zone, a sleeping giant that will change the geography of our country forever.


Daniel Holdings is an award-winning public speaker and former businessman turned author. The prolific one-time radio host and frequent guest shatters paradigms wherever he goes as he takes seldom heard facts and information and applies them to our modern life. His fictional series, The Cooper Chronicles, reads more like today's real-life news than simple thrillers. In his latest non-fiction work, Midnight Strikes-Judgment Unleashed, Daniel speaks on the record with Steve Quayle about a variety of current and critical topics that have placed mankind in imminent peril. Daniel is also one of the guest speakers at the 2020 True Legends Conference in Branson, Missouri. Daniel's books and information can be found on his website, cooperchronicles.net/ or danielholdings.com.

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November 6, 2019

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