Rare Earthquake Rattles Northern Illinois; No Damage Reported

February 11, 2010

A small pre-dawn earthquake hit northern Illinois on Feb. 10, startling residents as far away as Michigan and Iowa, but no damage or injuries were immediately reported. The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) said the earthquake was felt in eight states and was reported by more than 10,000 people.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the 3.8-magnitude earthquake hit about 45 miles northwest of Chicago at 4 a.m. The ISGS placed the epicenter one mile east of Pingree Grove in Kane County and about 7 miles below the ground surface.

The USGS initially reported the magnitude as 4.3 but later downgraded it. USGS geophysicist Amy Vaughan says such quakes are rare in northern Illinois.

In Kane County, sheriff’s dispatchers were overwhelmed with calls, and several residential and business alarms were triggered. But spokesman Lt. Pat Gengler says no injuries or damage have been reported.

There have been five previous earthquakes recorded in counties surrounding the area where the Feb. 10 earthquake occurred, according to the ISGS:

DuPage in 1985, magnitude 3.0
Kane in 1944, magnitude 2.7 and in 1947, 3.1
Kendall in 1912, magnitude 4.7
Will in 1909, magnitude 5.1, which caused damage and fires

The last earthquake felt in Chicago was on June 28, 2004, in LaSalle County with a magnitude of 4.2, the ISGS said.

The ISGS noted that while rare, earthquakes occurring east of the Rocky Mountains are typically felt over a much broader region than those in the West. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the West Coast.

U.S. Geological Survey: http://www.usgs.gov/

Illinois State Geological Survey: http://www.isgs.illinois.edu

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.