Midwest Earthquake Strikes in Illinois

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake shook Illinois and surrounding states at 4:37 AM CDT on Friday.  The epicenter was near West Salem in southeastern Illinois, near the border with Indiana.  There were no immediate reports of injuries.

From the ABC affiliate (WLS) in Chicago:

Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said no injuries had been reported in Chicago and said most calls were simply people wondering what happened. Langford said calls came in from across the city. He said no structural damage has been reported. Langford himself said he slept through it.

Damage was reported in Louisville, Ky. The quake could also be felt strongly in Evansville, Ind., 66 miles from the epicenter, and as far away as Cincinnati.


The quake shook skyscrapers in Chicago’s Loop and in downtown Indianapolis, about 160 miles northeast of the epicenter.

West Salem lies on the New Madrid Fault Line, which runs from Arkansas through Indiana.  In 1968 a quake also measured at 5.4 on the Richter scale had an epicenter near West Salem.  The fault line is capable of quakes with magnitudes of 7.0 or higher.  In 1812 an earthquake with an epicenter near New Madrid, MO was estimated as a 7.9.  

I have family in Peoria, IL (about 200 miles away) that say it shook the house enough to wake everyone.  I’m in Des Moines, IA where it was also felt some 450 miles away:

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.



Skip to comment form

  1. We’re still in the middle of monsoon season, which lies in the transition fron snow season to tornado season.    

  2. Last week we had snow one day and a tornado the next day.  And for some reason we’re getting 2″ of rain every Thursday.  It rains other days too, not not as much as on Thursdays.

    • pfiore8 on April 18, 2008 at 3:31 pm


    things are freaky all around.

  3. We felt the tremors here in Memphis. One of the girls at work called me saying: dammit as if this night isn’t bad enough I thought I felt the earth move and not in a good way.

  4. was created by New Madrid fault quakes in 1811-1812.  These huge quakes actually changed the flow pattern of the Mississippi river.  You can read some more at the following link.


  5. Was just reaching for the snooze button when it hit.

    We’ve had small ones near here before but this was the first time I’ve actually felt one.

    • Diane G on April 19, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    and as my husband left for work, I wondered why the heck he hadn’t unlocked the door and was rattling it. Then I heard his car-door slam as he got in the car, and I heard a little more rattling. Strange, I thought, what could be rattling? I looked and both young dogs were sleeping near me on the floor, so I just figured the wolf must have run down the deck or something, fast enough to rattle the door. I went back to sleep.

    It was 5:36 (our time).  So later when he called, I had an “aha” moment…. I didn’t “feel” it, but I heard a slight rattling in the house for a few moments.

Comments have been disabled.