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.