Thursday, December 30, 2010


Of course, I have never been through a real earthquake. But I have felt 3 small ones. The first one was several years ago when I still lived with my parents. Mom and I were in the kitchen getting dinner and the house started to shake. We looked at each other and then ran outside. We both thought the furnace was getting ready to explode. All our neighbors were also running outside but the next door neighbors, who had been working in the yard, didn't feel anything.

The next one I remember was only a couple years ago. I think it happened about 4:00am and it woke me up. I remember the glass candle holder on my dresser making tinkly glass noises and the whole bed shaking.

The one this morning was minor. Again, I was in bed, sitting up and getting ready to start my day. The dog slept through it but all the cats were on the bed with me and their ears all flattened back and they looked around and at me in alarm. It only lasted a few seconds and when I checked with Mom and Kevin, neither had felt it. Apparently, there was a 4.2 earthquake in Kokomo! Pretty decent size for this area.

According to, Indiana has had a few notable earthquakes:

1827 Jul 5 11:30 4.8M Intensity VI
Near New Harmony, Indiana ( 38.0N 87.5W )
The earthquake cracked a brick store at New Harmony, Ind., and greatly alarmed some people. It was described as violent at New Madrid, Mo., and severe at St. Louis. It also alarmed many at Cincinnati, Ohio, and Frankfort, Ky.

1887 Feb 6 22:15 4.6M Intensity VI
Near Vincennes, Indiana ( 38.7N 87.5W )
This shock was strongest in southwest Indiana and southeast Illinois. Plaster was shaken from walls at Vincennes, Ind., and west of Terre Haute, at Martinsville, Ill.; a cornice reportedly fell from a building at Huntington, Ind. It was felt distinctly at Evansville, Ind., but only slightly in the outskirts of St. Louis, Mo. Also reported felt at Louisville, Ky.

1891 Jul 27 02:28 4.1M Intensity VI
Evansville, Indiana ( 37.9N 87.5W )
A strong local earthquake damaged a wall on a hotel, broke dishes, and overturned furniture at Evansville. The shock also was strong near Evansville at Mount Vernon and Newburgh, Ind., and at Hawesville, Henderson, and Owensboro, Ky.

1909 Sep 27 09:45 5.10M Intensity VII
Wabash River Valley, near Terre Haute, Indiana
At Terre Haute (Vigo County), two chimneys were thrown down, plaster was cracked, and pictures were shaken from walls. At Covington, north of Terre Haute in Fountain County, a few chimneys were downed and windows were broken. Chimneys were "jarred loose" south of Vincennes at Princeton, Indiana, one chimney was shaken to pieces at Olivette, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis), and a brick wall was shaken down at St. Louis, Missouri. Also reported felt in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee.

1921 Mar 14 12:15 4.4M Intensity VI
Near Terre Haute, Indiana ( 39.5N 87.5W )
This earthquake broke windows in many buildings and sent residents rushing into the streets at Terre Haute. Small articles were overturned at Paris, Ill., about 35 km northwest of Terre Haute.

1925 Apr 27 04:05 4.8M Intensity VI
Wabash River valley, near Princeton, Indiana ( 38.2N 87.8W )
Chimneys were downed at Princeton and at Carmi, Ill., 100 km southwest; chimneys were broken at Louisville, Ky. Crowds fled from the theaters at Evansville, Ind. The felt area includes parts of Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio.

If you noticed that many of these seem to have been in the southern part of the state, you're right. Why? The New Madrid Fault Line and the Wabash Valley Fault Zone. The New Madrid Zone is not in Indiana, but is close enough to cause trouble should there be a large earthquake there. The Wabash Valley Zone is in southern Indiana and Illinois.

"The New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812 rank as some of the largest in the United States since its settlement by Europeans. They were by far the largest east of the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. and Canada. The area of strong shaking associated with these shocks is two to three times as large as that of the 1964 Alaska earthquake and 10 times as large as that of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Because there were no seismographs in North America at that time, and very few people in the New Madrid region, the estimated magnitudes of this series of earthquakes vary considerably and depend on modern researchers' interpretations of journals, newspaper reports, and other accounts of the ground shaking and damage." [I added the italics. :)]

Has anyone been in a strongly-felt earthquake before?


Edith said...

I didn't feel the one this morning. During the one in 2008 I woke up thinking, "OMG AN EARTHQUAKE" then told myself that was ridiculous, that it was just a dream, and went back to sleep.

In 2003 when I was in Guatemala, I felt a nice little temblor - it lasted for probably 15-30 seconds and it was my second day in the country, and I knew I needed to get outside but I had no shoes on and I couldn't remember where the door was...basically, I panicked. My host mom found me in the hallway and told me to put on a sweater, and I was shocked because I understood her (sweater sounds the same in English and Spanish, but I didn't realise it until later). Then we sat on her bed and waited for about half an hour in case there were aftershocks, but there weren't, so we went back to bed.

SidneyKay said...

They dumped it down to 3.8...