An early morning earthquake felt throughout much of Indiana and neighboring states woke up many in this area with a bit of a jolt.
Hours after the earthquake, labeled event 2008qza6 by the U.S. Geological Survey, radio call-in shows and the TV morning programs were full of local residents talking about how their beds shook, their pictures rattled and their slumber was interrupted.
According to the USGS, the quake struck at 4:37 a.m. Central time, 5:37 in Fort Wayne, and had an epicenter 21 miles southwest of Vincennes, just inside Illinois.
In West Salem, Ill., a chimney on one house fell and there were reports of cracks in walls.
Were very thankful we had no one injured, said Harvey Fenton, the towns police and fire chief.
He was at first unsure what to make of the sudden rumbling when it woke him up.
A major shaking is the best way I can describe it, said Fenton, 58.
Fifteen miles to the southeast, in Mount Carmel, a woman was trapped in her home by a collapsed porch but was quickly freed and wasnt hurt, said police dispatcher Mickie Smith. A century-old apartment building there, a former schoolhouse, was evacuated because of loose and falling bricks.
Located in the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, the earthquake had a magnitude of 5.2. The USGS showed reports of tremors as far away as Altoona, Iowa, and Leavenworth, Kan., to Lansing, Mich.
We have some minor reports of glass breakage and perhaps a mobile home may have come off its foundation, said Joe Wainscott Jr., executive director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
Wainscott said some damage might not yet be apparent. Indiana Department of Transportation crews immediately began inspecting bridges and overpasses along such highways as Interstate 64 and U.S. 41 in southwestern Indiana, he said. He said as of midmorning the inspections were nearly completed and there were no reports of damage.
Aftershocks continued throughout the morning, again, originating in Illinois, but being experienced in Indiana. Aftershocks, their times and magnitudes as of 1 p.m. were:
<*>6:03 a.m., three miles northwest of Mount Carmel, Ill., 2.5 tremor at 6.2-mile depth.
<*>6:15a.m., four miles south of Noble, Ill., 2.5 tremor at 6.2-mile depth.
<*>6:36 a.m., six miles north-northeast of Bellmont, Ill., 2.4 tremor at 11.1-mile depth.
<*>6:46 a.m., seven miles north-northeast of Bellmont, Ill., 2.2 tremor at 11.1-mile depth.
<*>7:55 a.m., six miles northwest of Mount Carmel, Ill., 2.6 tremor at 6.2-mile depth.
<*>11:14 a.m., eight miles east of West Salem, Ill., 4.5 tremor at 6.2-mile depth.
The initial earthquake shook houses in Fort Wayne and prompted a number of calls to the city.
The 911 and city information lines were fairly well lit up for 10 to 12 minutes immediately after the quake, said Tina Taviano, city communications director. She said no major damage was reported.
Nothing earthshaking to report, she said with a chuckle.
NIPSCO received no reports of damage in the city.
The only call was about a gas regulator leak in Geneva, which was being repaired Friday morning. A NIPSCO spokesman said the company doesnt know whether the Adams County damage was related to the earthquake and said no service was disrupted.
People all over Fort Wayne reported feeling the quake. One said it felt like a train was going by. One said some items had been knocked over in her home.
I actually thought it was a tornado, said Julie Pack, who lives on the north side. She has young ones at home and hadn't had much sleep beforehand. The house was just shaking.
The Vera Bradley Foundation assistant said she was so concerned she called her husband in Finland as she walked around the house looking for signs of damage. I had no idea what had happened.
Fort Wayne Fire Department spokeswoman Susan Banta said her department took only two calls that could possibly connected to the earthquake Friday morning – one for a report of an odor, another for an odor of natural gas. Neither call turned out to be anything.
The 11:14 a.m. aftershock was also felt in Fort Wayne.
At Vincennes University, about 30 miles east of the epicenter, all five dormitories were evacuated as a precaution after the first quake, sending nearly 1,500 students to an intramural field for an hour, university spokesman Duane Chattin said.
The earthquake triggered the fire alarm in one residence hall, Chattin said. There was no damage or injuries reported on the campus, Chattin said.
Scott Wilkerson, associate professor of geosciences at DePauw University in Greencastle, about 40 miles south of Indianapolis, said he felt two episodes of shaking. He said that may represent two different seismic waves.
He said there likely will be some small aftershocks, most of which people will not feel.
Scientists record between 150 and 200 earthquakes each year in the area made up by the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone – in the southern border between Indiana and Illinois – and the New Madrid Seismic Zone – located in the corners of Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois and Missouri.
The rate of major earthquake occurrence in the New Madrid area is comparable to that of California and much more than that would be expected, but the incidents of smaller reminder quakes is much less. According to the USGS, the New Madrid area possesses the hazards without the warnings of the smaller quakes.
In June 2002, a 4.6-magnitude earthquake was recorded about 12 miles west of Evansville, according to the USGS.
Fridays temblor was one of the strongest ever recorded in Illinois. The strongest was in 1968, when a 5.3-magnitude temblor was centered near Dale in Hamilton County, about 75 miles southeast of St. Louis.
At the Indiana State Police Post near I-69, third-shift dispatcher Jonathon Jacob said those on duty felt the shaking begin to rise up through the floor. Computer monitors shook a little bit and televisions began shaking.
The state police took no emergency calls related to the earthquake, handling only cell phone 911 calls, Jacob said. But moments after the quake occurred, radio traffic for other agencies began to pick up in intensity, he said.
Having served in the Army, stationed in places where earthquakes are a more common occurrence, Jacob said it was not a new experience for him.
They make your heart pump, but you just have to ride them out, he said.
Lucas Griswold, a dispatcher in West Salem, Ill., near the epicenter, told the Associated Press the Edwards County sheriffs department received reports of minor damage and no injuries.
Oh, yeah, I felt it. It was interesting, Griswold said. A lot of shaking.
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.
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.
The quake shook skyscrapers in Chicagos Loop, 240 miles north of the epicenter, and in downtown Indianapolis, about 160 miles northeast of the epicenter. Residents of St. Louis also reported feeling the earth shake.
The things on my curio were rattling and the water in the fish bowl was splashing, said Seymour, Ind., waitress Kelly Bolte. It felt like the dog was running through the house.
Indiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Todd Ringle in Evansville says he was shaken out of his bed by the earthquake.
It shook our house where it woke me up, said David Behm of Philo, Ill., 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. Its not like California.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
U.S. Geological Survey: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/
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As measured at IPFW