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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Earthquake and Aftershocks Hit Southern Illinois

UPDATE: 4/21/08-A 4.5 aftershock hit again this morning.

Geologists say the temblor just before 12:40 a.m. registered 4.5 magnitude at its epicenter about 5 miles northwest of Mount Carmel. The location is in the same area as Friday's early morning earthquake, which shook a wide area of the Midwest and caused minor damage.
Original post:

Illinois is not known for being in danger from Earthquakes, but on Thursday morning, a 5.2 Earthquake rattled the state of Illinois. As of 11:00 am on the same day, six aftershocks had already been felt measuring as high as magnitude 4.6.
This magnitude 5.2 earthquake is the biggest quake to hit Southern Illinois since 1968 and has caused minor damage in the state known as the birthplace of the skyscraper.

Andrew Velasquez III, director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, said, "Mother Nature sent us a wake-up call."

The aftershocks themselves seem to be more wake up calls being issued, especially for people that have lived in Illinois their whole lives and never experienced an earthquake.

Chicago police got 126 calls right after the earthquake struck from residents unfamiliar with the sensation.

``I've never gone through any earthquake and I've lived in Chicago all my 47 years,'' said Colleen Muench, a livestock clerk at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange who was awake because her alarm was accidentally set too early.

``I grabbed my kitchen counter and dishes in the cabinet shook,'' she said.

The Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich, briefed the public on what to expect following the earthquake, explaining to them what aftershocks were as well as warning of people offering to repair earthquake damage, write earthquake insurance policies or insist that they can get paid by an insurance company for repair costs.

Blagojevich said, "Earthquakes certainly are not common here in Illinois and so it is understandable that people may be concerned about feeling vibrations in the hours and days ahead. We want to make sure people understand what is taking place and how to prepare for aftershocks as much as they can. We also want people to be very wary of those offering to repair damage or write insurance policies following the earthquake. Unfortunately, there can be people who try to capitalize on events like this.”

Aftershocks are additional earthquakes that follow with tremors in the same general area that the original earthquake first was experienced. Aftershocks can be felt for up to a week after the first event and are generally smaller quakes that the first one but some have been known to be equal in strength and can cause structural damage, especially if the first quake weakened specific foundations.

Three aftershocks with magnitudes of 1.3 to 2.8 occurred Saturday in the general region as Friday's 5.2 quake in the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone. That main shock was centered in southeastern Illinois, roughly five miles from Bellmont. It was followed by a magnitude 4.5 aftershock later Friday morning.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, this is typical following an event as was seen on Thursday.

They report that there has been limited structural damage in West Salem, Illinois and Louisville, Kentucky. Felt over a wide area of the central United States with felt reports as far west as Kansas, as far north as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and as far south as Georgia.

The difference in perception of how the people of Illinois feel as stated by Muench and how people originally for California, a state that feels many more quakes on a regular basis, can been seen in the reaction of Toni Dane, a 60 year old waitress that moved from California to Chicago and she says, "I'm from L.A.: that wasn't an earthquake, just a little shake."