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home : news : local   April 29, 2016

2/10/2010 9:30:00 AM
Small earthquake rattles northern Illinois

Jeff Dankert

A small earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 3.8 occurred this morning west of Elgin, 60 miles northeast of La Salle, and was felt by people in Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Brenda Witek of La Salle said she felt it for 10-20 seconds and it shook knickknacks on her dresser.

"It woke me up," she said. "Actually I just heard the shaking of some glasses on the shelf rattling."

Lt. William Evans with the La Salle County Sheriff's Office said he did not have any reports this morning about the earthquake.

"I didn't notice it," he said. "I slept right through it."

Jo Ellen Fisher, dispatcher with Mendota police, said they received two calls from people about the earthquake. A patient at Illinois Valley Community Hospital, Peru, reported she felt her bed shake.

The earthquake happened at 4 a.m. The epicenter was 3.1 miles below the surface, according to the Geological Survey.

There were no reports of injuries or structure damage, according to the Associated Press.
The Geological Survey initially reported the earthquake at a magnitude of 4.3, but revised it to 3.8.

Quakes are rare in northern Illinois, said Amy Vaughan, Geological Survey geophysicist. The agency received reports from people who felt the ground shake in Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana, she said.

Sheriff's dispatchers near the epicenter in Kane County said they have been flooded with calls from startled residents. Lt. Pat Gengler said no injuries or damage were reported.

Some residents reported being tossed out of bed and finding household items scattered on the floor, according to the Associated Press.

The strongest earthquake to hit Illinois was in 1968 near Dale with a magnitude of 5.4, according to the Geological Survey. It caused bricks to fall from chimneys, broke windows, toppled television aerials and cracked plaster, according to the agency.

The smallest earthquake people can feel is generally 2.5 to 3.0. Each increase of 1.0 represents a quake 32 times stronger. A magnitude 8.7 earthquake is about 23,000 times stronger than an earthquake of 5.8, according to the Geological Survey. That makes the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that devastated Haiti last month more than 63,000 times stronger than the 3.8 earthquake this morning in Illinois.

Related Stories:
• Quinn urges Illinoisans to join earthquake drill

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