Earthquake Rattles Midwest
June 28, 2004 10:25 AM   Subscribe

4.5 magnitude earthquake hits Chicagoland.
posted by whoshotwho (40 comments total)
Earthquakes are not unknown in the Midwest. Two of the biggest (est. about 8.0) occurred at New Madrid, MO in the early 1800's.
posted by caddis at 11:04 AM on June 28, 2004

The 4.5 link appears to be broken.
posted by mischief at 11:11 AM on June 28, 2004

Illinois Earthquake History. And more here. Don't worry. Be happy.
posted by brownpau at 11:13 AM on June 28, 2004

Actually this is news. While it didn't break much of anything or injure one - there hasn't been an earthquake this large in the midwest since 1909. Large being relative, of course - a 4.5 is described by many as similar to the feeling of a very large truck driving by - nothing to freak out about.

Still, it's a rare occurrence, and I for one found it interesting. Funny story, I felt it last night and dismissed it as the upstairs neighbors having some particularly vigorous sex (though I did think it unusually powerful even for that, I couldn't really figure it was an earthquake, as here in the Chicago area we just don't think about that sort of thing)...
posted by twiggy at 11:24 AM on June 28, 2004

4.5? We sleep through that shit out here.
posted by scarabic at 11:26 AM on June 28, 2004

wait for it, wait for it....."4.5" WGN Movie of the Week. Starring Bob Newhart as Bob, Adam Arkin as Dr. Aaron Shutt, Hector Elizondo as Dr. Phillip Watters, Christine Lahti as Dr. Kate Austin, Mark Harmon as Dr. Jack McNeil, Mandy Patinkin as Dr. Jeffrey Geiger, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly, Renée Zellweger as Roxie Hart, Mike Ditka as "Coach" and introducing the Ghost of Richard Daly.

Music by Peter Cetera, Catering by the Vienna Beef Company.
posted by m@ at 11:29 AM on June 28, 2004

4.5? We sleep through that shit out here.

Well, most of us slept through it in Chicago too....although I'm kind of disappointed. The last time we had an earthquake in the area I was on a moving I missed out on that one too.
posted by Durwood at 11:34 AM on June 28, 2004

4.5? We sleep through that shit out here.

Perhaps, but the population of Berkley would fall to its collective knees and tremble in terror if more than an inch of snow ever fell.

Your favorite natural disaster sucks, too.
posted by ChasFile at 11:39 AM on June 28, 2004

mmmm.... beefs. With green peppers on crispy buns. Dipped.

I recall a mild earthquake in the early '80s or thereabouts. I was working in my home office in the Land Beyond O'hare and felt a bit of a rumble. In hindsight, "boom boom" cars make more of a rumble than what I felt during that earthquake.

They've always said that them midwest can expect to have a major earthquake, but they say that about a lot of places in the U.S. Maybe it's just California envy.
posted by SteveInMaine at 11:40 AM on June 28, 2004

I feel ya, Durwood. I was in a car during Loma Prieta. The driver-ed mobile, actually. The teacher thought for a second we had a flat, but that was about it. I didn't feel a thing.

Actually I did see it snow in Berkeley once. It didn't stick, of course, and only fell for about 30 seconds. It was quite beautiful, though.
posted by scarabic at 11:41 AM on June 28, 2004

"...I felt it last night and dismissed it as the upstairs neighbors having some particularly vigorous sex..."

I bet your neighbors would be proud.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:48 AM on June 28, 2004

God: Sorry, that was me. Damn chalupas!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:07 PM on June 28, 2004

This vibrates?
posted by uosuaq at 12:19 PM on June 28, 2004

My mother, who criticized my decision to move west for years based on her innate knowledge that the "big one" would hit and then I'd be sorry, felt this in Rockford, Illinois last night.

I still haven't yet felt an earthquake. I feel vaguely left out.
posted by u.n. owen at 12:21 PM on June 28, 2004

So now I can't even mention that this doesn't appear to be all that noteworthy (a very benign comment) without having my comment deleted? Ohhh-kay. Phone me when an actual earthquake hits somewhere, not your garden store variety (the ones that occur on a semi-annual basis on the west coast and all over the world).
posted by The God Complex at 12:28 PM on June 28, 2004

So THAT's what that was. Man did that feel weird.
posted by Outlawyr at 12:29 PM on June 28, 2004

For someone feeling their first quake (I was disappointed never to have experienced one during California visits) it was certainly startling. I was just falling into a dream at home in Madison, Wis., when my house and bed started shaking. It was bewildering. I didn't know what the hell was going on. Only months ago natural gas blew up a house not far from mine and shook the area (I was asleep) so I wondered if that had happened again, but I didn't hear any sirens. The USGS web site had nothing at that point. It was a mystery until I got up this morning.

Apologies to the earthquake snobs if it didn't measure up, but this just doesn't happen where I live.
posted by schmedeman at 12:34 PM on June 28, 2004

Random facts from 8th grade Tennessee History. The New Madris quake that caddis mentioned was so powerful it caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards creating Reelfoot Lake. Technical description and the legend.
posted by karmaville at 12:41 PM on June 28, 2004

The slow rumbles that build and suddenly die are no fun. The sharp jolt of torsion that comes out of nowhere and makes the whole room shift from square to parallelogram then back to square, all in .5 seconds... now *those* are a kick!

Anyway, if it ever does snow in Berkeley again, you can bet I won't be posting it here. You're telling me y'all wouldn't just say "big f-ing deal?" You know you would.
posted by scarabic at 12:43 PM on June 28, 2004

2003 Midwest Earthquakes.

Random facts from 8th grade Tennessee History. The New Madris quake that caddis mentioned was so powerful it caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards creating Reelfoot Lake. Technical description and the legend.

Now that is freakin' cool! *continues reading link*
posted by The God Complex at 12:43 PM on June 28, 2004

I remember moving to New Haven, my first time living in the east coast, for graduate school. I was in my advisor's office in this old, converted house when I felt an earthquake. I tensed and looked for secure tables and doorways when I heard a truck shift gears out in the street. It still took me awhile to relax.

The weirdest ones are the rolling quakes, they make you feel like you're on a boat. You'd stare at a wall and see it actually roll like a wave... that's some freaky stuff.

I have yet to experience my mother's POV on the 35th floor of a downtown skyscraper staring in horror as these window washers cling to the cables while the buildings sway violently from side to side.
posted by linux at 1:04 PM on June 28, 2004

Part of what makes this interesting is the realization that areas that we like to think are immune to certain types of natural disaters are possibly vulnerable to the once-a-century event. Was it last year that everyone was shocked by the sudden appearance of a tornado in downtown Salt Lake City? It was not a particularly big one but shocking enough to make everyone rethink their beliefs about tornado safety in the big city.

Many midwestern cities would seem to be especially vulnerable to earthquakes at lower intensities given that most cities around here end up built on current or ancient flood plains. Indianapolis for example sits on the bed of a fairly large post-glacial river, parts of Chicago on a river delta, St. Louis, Louisville, Cairo, Memphis, and Hannibal to my knowledge are all on the kinds of soil that tend to be most vulnerable to liquification. Add to that a large water supply(*) and lack of preparation and 4.5 does not seem so trivial.

(*) Perhaps the best sign about how people out west are just plain nuts was revealed to me flying into LAX and Phoenix last week. Lots of tiny pockets of landscape attempting to imitate biomes that get a light thundershowers once a week.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:29 PM on June 28, 2004

I slept right through it. Boo!
posted by SisterHavana at 1:42 PM on June 28, 2004

I felt it in Milwaukee. I was working on some pieces I had to write, and felt my girlfriend's third floor apartment shake. My first thought was "this must be an earthquake" my second was "those don't happen in Milwaukee" then I looked to see if the fish tank was shaking too to confirm my beliefs.
posted by drezdn at 1:49 PM on June 28, 2004


Are you thinking of the fairly big tornado that fucked up downtown Fort Worth in 99 or 00? That also surprised people who'd thought that downtown cores were tornado-proof for some reason.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:55 PM on June 28, 2004

In June 2002 I was visiting a friend in a Northern Chicago suburb and was awoken in the morning by a 4.6 quake centered in Evansville, Indiana. My host had slept through it and thought I was nuts when I suggested an earthquake. It scared the shit out of me, though. I wasn't expecting an earthquake in Chicago.

Scarabic: Square to parallelogram and back to square? The Gilroy quake did that to the Berkeley house I was living in. Yes, it was cool.
posted by quasistoic at 1:57 PM on June 28, 2004

Nope, it was Salt Lake City, 1999. And an interesting comparison, the SLC tornado was "only" an F-2 with one fatality, but it made national news because tornados are just not supposed to happen in city cores or in mountainous areas. The vertical updrafts caused by city cores and mountains are supposed to disrupt tornado development.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:03 PM on June 28, 2004

Yeah, like the ground suddenly jerked 5 inches in one direction, and then sprang right back, shearing the entire house for a moment. Off the hook.
posted by scarabic at 2:03 PM on June 28, 2004

Just FYI, that SLC tornado passed within about 100 yards of my office, and I didn't get to see it, as I was pulling cabling under the floor in the network room and it has no windows. All I noticed was a brief flicker of the lights.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:26 PM on June 28, 2004

There was a quake out here in western NC about six years back; at the time, I was engaged in, well, a sort of solo recreational activity, and just attributed it to.... well, nevermind.
posted by moonbird at 2:52 PM on June 28, 2004

In case anyone's interested, the IL quake caused the Tevatron at Fermilab to dump its beam. This isn't a big deal (i.e. it's not dangerous), the beam is lost quite often. Still, it's neat.
posted by funkbrain at 3:19 PM on June 28, 2004

Dude, we were awake at 1 am and didn't feel anything. this is the second earthquake I've missed. (The first being in shithole Hobbs, New Mexico, the kind of place that later had tshirts for sale in the "mall" boasting I SURVIVED THE HOBBS EARTHQUAKE. heh.) I slept through that one.
posted by sugarfish at 3:32 PM on June 28, 2004

I dozed thru this one, but was awakened at 4 am by drunken female strangers, which was far more disturbing than the couple quakes we've had of similar size. I did enjoy one, back when I was in high school, though; my Mom was on the john, and she bolted out all wild-eyed and stumbled down the stairs with her frillies around her ankles bellowing, "What in the hell did you kids do to the furnace?!?"
posted by cookie-k at 4:13 PM on June 28, 2004

Yeah, i dumped my beam once. it was interesting.

I was just going to bed at about 1:15. i put my hand on the bed, and it was shaking. Then the picture on the wall of my office started to rattle. I thought it might be a train, so i shut off the TV but heard no train. The vibrations lasted for about 30-45 seconds. It was very rhythmic, not what i would expect from an earthquake. i called the police and they thought it was a helicopter overhead (i live between a hospital and a railroad overpass in Dixon, IL). It was cool! My first earthquake!
posted by schlaager at 4:55 PM on June 28, 2004

I did enjoy one, back when I was in high school, though

What, a drunken female stranger? How did the furnace get involved?
posted by scarabic at 5:43 PM on June 28, 2004

I felt it and I live in Sandwich.
The geological survey said the three-second quake occurred at a depth of 3.1 miles in a structure associated with the Sandwich Fault Zone. It was not connected with the New Madrid Fault further south, which has been responsible for the Midwest's most serious earthquakes.
My cat totally freaked. She was giving me this wild-eyed stare with her legs spread out and then bolted.

It wasn't as exciting as the last earthquake I experienced back in Seattle. You know, the one after the riot.

Where should I move to next?
posted by john at 6:29 PM on June 28, 2004

MetaFilter: My Natural Diaster Can Beat Up Your Natural Disaster
posted by bwg at 8:16 PM on June 28, 2004

posted ... at 12:25 PM CST

I think that says it all, really. A mere 11 hours and 14 minutes late.

I simply don't remember the 1972 quake around here (M=3.7), and was much too young for the '68 (M=5.3), so I was quite happy to learn that this was an earthquake; but that was only the next morning. At the time, I seriously thought it was a semi truck (we have a place down the street that gets deliveries, but during the day!), and leaped to the front door to check out what turned out to be merely a diesel crew cab Dodge Ram. (See, there was a truck going by. I heard the damn engine.) I briefly considered whether one of the girls had fallen off her bed upstairs, before attributing it most likely to a distant illegal mortar (fireworks season being heavily upon us). Last fall there was a series of those set off in the middle of the night several times, way up on the bluff past the hospital, that was never solved to my knowledge. (See? Again, precedent!)

Anyway, the sum total of my scintillating experience was the window rattling like hell for about three seconds, combined with a serious bass rumble on the floor. Whee! We takes whats we can gets.
posted by dhartung at 10:13 PM on June 28, 2004

Thanks Cookie-k! Sounds like something my mom would have said/done.
posted by Goofyy at 10:35 AM on June 29, 2004

When I was about 5 years old, we had a minor earthquake in Michigan. My father blamed it on me until he turned on the radio and found out the truth.
posted by dagnyscott at 8:29 AM on June 30, 2004

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