Scientists say if the New Madrid Fault is moving 2 mm or less per year, no big deal. If it's moving above 6 mm/year, it may be a big deal. More Here are movements of other faults, as shown by Google Earth, from USGS. You should look to USGS for interpretation of these figures.
Above shows Alaska and Aleutians on right and lower, Bering Straight at top, Russia on left. Viewed on Google Earth Feb 17 2009. The Aleutians have quakes about every day. The "seven" magnitudes are reasonably common here.
This is Cascadia - Juan De Fucha area, off the coast of Washington state.
Above is off the coast of South America. See La Paz, capital of Bolivia.
New Caledonia is in South Pacific. Remember "McHale's Navy"?
Below: New Madrid is in the middle of a plate, like hitting a bass drum and letting it resonate. The rocks are cold, hard. It travels much farther. The two plates that come together and rub each other at San Francisco, do not resonate nearly as much.
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