Illinois earthquakes are not generally supposed to happen. Yet an Illinois earthquake struck this morning, reaching as far as Indiana and Wisconsin. In the Chicago suburbs, a 3.8 quake registered all of a sudden, taking residents completely by surprise. Yet since it was a relatively small strike, in an area that isn’t known for seismic events, there are no reported injuries or damages so far. However, the Illinois earthquake is more odd than destructive, which is a bit of a blessing.
Reports of how big the Illinois earthquake varied, with a 4.3 measure on the Richter Scale at first. However, the U.S. Geological Survey eventually rated it as a mere 3.8. Either way, it wasn’t a very big tremor, at least by comparison to other recent quakes lately.
Even though this happened at Sycamore, which is a Chicago suburb, the earthquake went beyond Illinois and was felt in other states as well. Residents in Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana also reported that they felt the tremor.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a quake of this magnitude in this area can be felt as far as 60 miles out. If it was a little larger, it might have been felt up to 300 miles out, but it was relatively limited. But although the Illinois earthquake woke up a lot of people in several Midwest states, no one seems to be severely injured, and no major damage was inflicted.
Since this sort of thing is so rare in the Midwest, there isn’t that much historical precedent. However, the USGA does claim that this happens every several years, and last happened nearly two years ago. In 2008, a 5.2 Illinois earthquake struck, but it too caused little damage.
The largest quake in state history occurred in 1968, as a 5.4 caused a fair share of damage near the epicenter in Carbondale. The tremor was felt as far away as Boston and Ontario, Canada, but it was still minimal, compared to earthquake in the most active areas.
The Illinois earthquake is both routine and unusual, since people aren’t used to associating these two things together. Yet it does happen, although when it does, it appears that it just wakes people up and doesn’t threaten their lives.
But after the Haiti earthquake, Illinois citizens have to feel more blessed, since they live in an area that isn’t that vulnerable. At the least, the state is making headlines today for something other than a political scandal.
Chicago Sun Times- “3.8 earthquake ‘rattles people awake’ in suburbs”
SF Gate- “Illinois 4.3 earthquake shakes up Wisconsin, Iowa and Twitter”
My Suburban Life- “History of earthquakes in Illinois”