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5.2 Earthquake Rocks Midwest No Damage


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Residents across the Midwest were awakened Friday by a 5.2 magnitude earthquake that rattled skyscrapers in Chicago, homes in Cincinnati and nerves across the region but appeared to cause no major injuries or damage.


Dozens of aftershocks followed, one with a magnitude of 4.6.


The quake just before 4:37 a.m. was centered six miles from West Salem, Ill., and 45 miles from Evansville, Ind. It was felt in such distant cities as Milwaukee, Des Moines, Iowa, and Atlanta, nearly 400 miles to the southeast.


"I just saw my house just shake. Golly," said Mike Morrow, of Mount Carmel, Ill., 15 miles southeast of the epicenter, his eyes widening during an aftershock that hit as he was interviewed by a reporter.


Morrow's two-story apartment building was evacuated because of loose and falling bricks. The initial quake woke the 30-year-old and startled his pit bull.


"He was about as scared as I was," Morrow said. "We both just froze."


Midwesterners, most unaccustomed to earthquakes powerful enough to loosen bricks and crack foundations, traded stories as the day began.


"It shook our house where it woke me up," said David Behm of Philo, 10 miles south of Champaign. "Windows were rattling, and you could hear it. The house was shaking inches. For people in central Illinois, this is a big deal. It's not like California."


Janet Clem, 37, of Mount Carmel, opened her front door after hearing "a heckuva rumble then a loud kaboom," and found her front porch collapsed. "I'm terrified, I'm not going to lie to you," she said. "I've never experienced anything like that and I don't want to experience it again."


Bonnie Lucas, a morning co-host at WHO-AM in Des Moines, said she was sitting in her office when she felt her chair move. She grabbed her desk, and then heard the ceiling panels start to creak. The shaking lasted about 5 seconds, she said.


The quake is believed to have involved the Wabash fault, a northern extension of the New Madrid fault about six miles north of Mount Carmel, Ill., said United States Geological Survey geophysicist Randy Baldwin.


The last earthquake in the region to approach the severity of Friday's temblor was a 5.0 magnitude quake that shook a nearby area in 2002.


"This is a fairly large quake for this region," Baldwin said. "They might occur every few years."


It was initially reported as a 5.4-magnitude earthquake, but the USGS later revised its estimate to 5.2.


In Cincinnati, Irvetta McMurtry said she felt the rattling for up to 20 seconds.


"All of a sudden, I was awakened by this rumbling shaking," said McMurtry, 43. "My bed is an older wood frame bed, so the bed started to creak and shake, and it was almost like somebody was taking my mattress and moving it back and forth."


In Louisville, Ky., the quake caused some bricks to fall off a building near downtown. Television video showed them strewn in the street.


Crews inspected bridges, airports and power plants throughout the Midwest, finding no big problems. Spans across the Mississippi, Wabash and Ohio rivers were inspected for cracks, missing bolts and buckling.


Early homeowner damage claims received by State Farm, the largest provider of earthquake coverage in the area, were mostly for cracks in drywall and foundations, said spokeswoman Missy Lundberg.


The strongest earthquake on record with an epicenter in Illinois occurred in 1968, when a 5.3-magnitude temblor was recorded about 75 miles southeast of St. Louis, according the USGS. The damage was minor but widespread and there were no serious injuries.


In 1811 and 1812, the New Madrid fault produced a series of earthquakes estimated at magnitude 7.0 or greater said to be felt as far away as Boston. They were centered in the Missouri town of New Madrid (pronounced MAD'-rid), 140 miles southeast of St. Louis.


Experts said that with the much higher population in the Midwest, another major quake along the New Madrid fault zone could destroy buildings, bridges, roads and other infrastructure, disrupt communications and isolate areas.





The first one I was just getting up from my nights sleep to have pictures coming off the wall. My wife was freaking out but I knew what it was. It was kinda of scary but did not last long. Still it was big enough to rattle the windows and shake things off my walls and shelves. The second I was at a customers house and it was nothing like the first. Nothing though like the one I experienced in Arizona over 20 years ago. That one moved me right across the floor. Think it was a 7.3 one then.


Well everyone is sure talking about it and it is all the big news here. Since we rarely get one.


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I saw it on the news this morning. I'm glad there wasn't much damage. They also say there will be a huge 7+ earthquake coming to California in the next 20 years or so. We got to better prepare ourselves for the worst case scenarios.


The funny thing is that a lot of people on the east coast (based on witness accounts I've read) had no idea what it was when they first felt the earthquake. Many thought it was a bomb or their wife shaking the bed. :ph34r:

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