Midwest-rattling quake even felt in Rochester

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Nick Sargent of Rochester happened to be lying awake in bed about 4:30 a.m. this morning when the mattress started to shake a little bit. And then "I pretty quickly realized it was the whole house," he says.

"I even thought, ‘Is this what an earthquake is like?’" Sargent says. "But I thought, ‘no, it can’t be.’"

Well, it was — as Sargent discovered when he heard the news on his way into work and checked the time.

Residents across the Midwest were awakened just before 4:37 a.m. this morning by a 5.2 magnitude earthquake. Centered six miles from West Salem, Ill., and 66 miles from Evansville, Ind., the tremors rattled skyscrapers in Chicago’s Loop and homes in Cincinnati but appeared to cause no major injuries or damage.


"It shook our house where it woke me up," said David Behm of Philo, 10 miles south of Champaign, Ill. "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."

He was a lot closer than Sargent, who lives in northeast Rochester. When the rumbling arrived here, it was "(as) if a jet airplane had flown low over your house, but without the noise," said Sargent, 36. He is co-owner of the Sargent’s Landscape Nursery in Rochester.

The trembling was not violent enough to move articles or cause any damage at his house, he said.

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 6 miles north of Mt. Carmel, Ill., said United States Geological Survey geophysicist Randy Baldwin.

The last earthquake in the region to approach the severity of today’s temblor was a 5.0 magnitude quake that shook a nearby area in 2002, Baldwin said.

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

Baldwin said the USGS revised the quake’s magnitude from 5.4 to 5.2.


Irvetta McMurtry of Cincinnati 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."

Lucas Griswold, a dispatcher in West Salem, said the Edwards County sheriff’s department received reports of minor damage and no injuries.

"Oh, yeah, I felt it. It was interesting," Griswold said. "A lot of shaking."

Indiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Todd Ringle in Evansville said there were no immediate reports of damage.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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