An earthquake centered in southern Illinois rattled Iowa and several surrounding states early this morning. Randy Baldwin is a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado. Baldwin says the quake hit at 4:37 A.M., with a revised magnitude of 5.2 at the epicenter six miles to the northwest of Mount Carmel, Illinois.
Baldwin says the quake was felt throughout the midwest and south. Baldwin says they’ve had reports from more than 300 miles away from people who felt the quake, from Michigan, to western Georgia, and west all the way to Kansas. Baldwin says the center had no warning that the quake was coming, and says its size is unusual.
"It’s pretty uncommon to get one this size, although they have been know to occur," he says, "the last comparable quake of this size was back in 2002, that was a 5.0 that occurred, and prior to that, there was one back in 1987." Baldwin says the southern Illinois quakes are not uncommon, but most don’t end up shaking the rest of the midwest.
He says on any given year most of the quakes are of smaller magnitudes that can be felt locally, while the larger quakes usually happen only once a decade. The National Earthquake Information Center’s website says there were two smaller aftershocks this morning of 2.5 and 2.6 magnitude.
Several people in eastern Iowa reported feeling the earthquake, including a woman in Bettendorf.She says it woke her up and she thought it was the dog bumping against the bed wanting to go out. A woman in Clinton felt the rumble as she was making oatmeal. She says the house started creaking and the valance on the curtain above the kitchen sink was shaking.
A Davenport man also felt the quake, he says he couldn’t sleep and was up reading and all of a sudden, a container of water on his nightstand started shaking back and forth. Officials say there was no significant damage from the quake.