WEST SALEM, Ill. (AP) - A 5.4 magnitude earthquake that appeared to rival the strongest recorded in the region rocked people up to 450 miles away early Friday, surprising residents unaccustomed to such a powerful Midwest temblor.
The quake just before 4:37 a.m. was centered six miles from West Salem, Ill., and 66 miles from Evansville, Ind. It was felt in such distant cities as Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Des Moines, Iowa, 450 miles northwest of the epicenter, but there were no early reports of injuries or significant damage.
A friend in Indianapolis reports he felt it--sleeping on the floor of an empty apartment, it's his last day in the city--and was awakened by the chains on the ceiling fan jingling, but his girlfriend thought she dreamt it, so I guess I shouldn't be too upset about missing it from much further north.
This is the fifth Midwestern earthquake I've allegedly been able to feel, and I haven't been aware of any of them until I read the news. I'll always remember the first; I was 12 or 13, my dad and I were the only ones home, and he went upstairs to my bedroom to yell at me for "thumping my chair around" (wood floor directly over his study, the noise was an ongoing source of friction) but I was actually reading on the couch in the living room instead of at my desk. I'd heard/felt nothing usual; grain trucks drove by our house day and night to the elevator down the street and we were only a few blocks from the C&NW transcontinental railroad, so our windows rattled a lot.
I have much higher expectations of the New Madrid Fault in the future. And guess what? Humans can't control the Earth. al-Gore's preaching about the East Coast going underwater because of light bulbs and (unwashed masses', not his own) travel and Gaia's laughing her fool ass off, planning to destroy the interior of the country from below.