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rumor has it there was an earthquake

Nothing to see here, just my article about the earthquake for my newspaper. I kind of doubt the editor will run it, since there's little local connection and it'll all be old news by the time the next issue comes out. So I'm putting it up here, so I'll know it was someplace!

The effects of the Midwest Earthquake that struck Friday were limited in northeast Indiana, and consisted mostly of rattled nerves.

Although centered in southern Illinois, people in fourteen states and Canada reported feeling the 5.2 magnitude trembler. Part of the reason is the type of ground that lies beneath the center of the continent; geologists say the same quake on the west coast wouldn't have been felt nearly as far out. The 1811-1812 New Madrid earthquakes, centered in Missouri, made church bells ring in far off Boston.

Locally, many people slept through the earthquake, but many more were shaken from sleep or their nighttime jobs. At the Noble County Sheriff's Department, dispatchers received dozens of calls from every part of the county. Some of the callers knew it was an earthquake; others reported possible burglaries, thinking someone was breaking into their home.

Albion Police responded to assist an elderly woman at Skinner Lake, who also believed she was hearing an attempted burglary, but officers confirmed it was shaking from the quake.

Kendallville Police and Indiana State Police dispatchers were also innundated with calls, starting at about 5:40 a.m. just after the earthquake began. However, the closest damage was a bridge in southern Indiana, which may have had previous damage worsened by the shaking. INDOT officials stayed busy over the weekend inspecting bridges across the state.

Televisions showed a street in Louisville, KY, strewn with bricks that fell off a building. There were similar scattered reports, including a chimney partially collapsing, glass breaking, and a mobile home being shaken from its foundation.

There may have been advance warning, often ignored by humans: Their pets. Many people reported that animals began acting strangely before the earthquake hit, although they were largely ignored until after the fact. Near Kendallville, a number of horses broke out of their pen and went running down the road. They were spotted about fifteen minutes before the earthquake struck, but it can't be proven that was more than coincidence.

Still, keeping an eye on animals might be a good idea for future purposes, as officials caution that the region remains overdue for a major trembler. The Friday quake was only a little less powerful than the strongest on record in Illinois, a 5.3 magnitude shaking in 1968. Both quakes were believed to have originated in an offshoot of the New Madrid fault, which in 1811 and 1812 produced some of the most powerful earthquakes ever felt in the continental United States.

The area was lightly populated then; a similar quake today would cause multiple deaths and injuries, and an incaculable amount of damage. Emergency Management planners caution that citizens need to be ready for earthquakes, as much as they should be for more common Midwest natural disasters. Luckily, preparations are often similar for almost any kind of catastrophe, and include such simple precautions as having water, food, and battery powered flashlights and radios ready.

They should also remember that Midwest infrastructure isn't designed to withstand earthquakes, the way buildings and utility lines are in California. That means a more minor earthquake can cause much more damage.

When will the next earthquake strikes? Authorities are quick to point out that although they can't say when, they can guarantee it will.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 20th, 2008 10:20 am (UTC)
My dogs sleep through earthquakes so they are little help. :D

Great article!
Apr. 21st, 2008 03:10 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it! And good for your dogs, no stress for them. :-)
Apr. 20th, 2008 11:43 am (UTC)
I don't know about earthquakes but years ago when a tornado blew through fairly closely our then cat went on alert in the window seat and rigidly stood at attention until he suddenly got up and walked away. We found out later that that was when it blew over the Lake and was no longer on land.
Apr. 21st, 2008 03:15 am (UTC)
Still another example that our animal friends have senses we can't begin to appreciate.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 21st, 2008 03:17 am (UTC)
Not only are animals sensitive, but you were way closer to it than I was!

I suspect I would have ignored him, too ...
Apr. 21st, 2008 03:01 am (UTC)

That's the quote people are going to remember me by..
Apr. 21st, 2008 03:01 am (UTC)
crap, forgot to log in..
Apr. 21st, 2008 03:08 am (UTC)
You don't have to log in, people will remember you by your quote!
Apr. 21st, 2008 09:40 am (UTC)
Oddly I slept right through it!! I'd reluctantly fallen asleep with the TV on not an hour earlier...I'd wanted to catch Star Trek on TVLand (I'm not a Trekkie either) but dozed into oblivion. I used to be the type that could sleep through damn near anything - even if something was taking place five feet from me, I'd still never hear it. Now, I usually wake up if anything "changes" such as the TV turning off, my computer announcing "You've got mail!" or any other nuisance...I'm shocked that I didn't wake up to my room gently shaking.

Wildly enough, NONE of the crap on my bookshelves that seem to tumble off if I so much as SNEEZE moved at all or fell. Though now that I think about it, one of Mom's tribal masks she has in the living room fell off a wall.

There was an unconfirmed report of a piece of rebar suddenly protruding through a section of the Edens Expressway after the quake but since the expressway is currently undergoing massive construction, no one knows if that was quake or construction related. Other than that, I'd heard of a turn-of-the-century converted brick schoolhouse in Mt. Carmel suffering damage that will likely render the historic building condemned...and the porch falling off of some lady's home in Mt. Vernon, temporarily trapping her inside her home.

I know people have been warning that we're just about due for another series of New Madrid quakes...who knows when that will actually happen, even if it's within our lifetime at all. Seismologists all agree that it won't be ONE major quake along that fault line but SEVERAL that could take place several days/weeks/months or even years apart. The only truly SCARY thing to bear in mind is that the midwest is NOT a zone that's taken seismic events into consideration during any decade of construction, even now. o_O
Apr. 23rd, 2008 05:03 am (UTC)
A lot of people slept through it; half seem really upset to have missed it, and the other half really happy. :-)

From an historical standpoint, we do know the two scary things that you mentioned: That it won't be one, but several bad quakes, and that we're nowwhere near prepared for it.
Apr. 22nd, 2008 01:01 am (UTC)
I didn't feel the earthquake or the aftershocks. But I'm married to a guy who's been worrying about the New Madrid fault ever since we moved to the midwest. Fortunately, they say we probably have another 100 years to go before the next really big one.
Apr. 22nd, 2008 06:05 am (UTC)
I can't say I've really been worried about it, but I have been pushing disaster preparedness in general. Luckily, the way you prepare for one disaster is usually pretty similar to how you prepare for most disasters, so it's all important.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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