Magnitude 5.2 Earthquake Rattles U.S. Midwest

Jim Suhr in West Salem, Illinois
Associated Press
April 18, 2008

Residents across the U.S. Midwest were awakened this morning by a magnitude 5.2 earthquake that appears to have caused no major injuries or damages.

Two aftershocks during the next three hours measured magnitude 2.6 and 2.5.

The quake, which struck just before 4:37 a.m. local time, was centered 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) from West Salem, Illinois.

It rattled skyscrapers in Chicago and homes in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was even felt as far away as Des Moines, Iowa, and Atlanta, Georgia.

"It shook our house where it woke me up," said David Behm of Philo, Illinois, 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Champaign.

"Windows were rattling, and you could hear it. The house was shaking inches. For people in central Illinois, this is a big deal. It's not like California."

Distant Shaking

In Mount Carmel, 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of the epicenter, a woman was trapped in her home by a collapsed porch but was quickly freed and wasn't hurt, said Mickie Smith, a dispatcher at the police department.

The department took numerous other calls, though none reported anything more serious than objects knocked off walls and out of shelves, she said.

Lucas Griswold, a dispatcher in West Salem, said the Edwards County sheriff's department received reports of minor damage and no injuries.

"Oh, yeah, I felt it. It was interesting," Griswold said. "A lot of shaking."

Cincinnati resident Irvetta McMurtry said she felt the rattling for up to 20 seconds.

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