2008 Illinois earthquake

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2008 Illinois earthquake
Illinois earthquake intensity 18 Apr 2008.jpg
Date April 18, 2008 (2008-04-18)
Magnitude 5.4 Mw
Depth 11.6 kilometers (7.2 mi)
Epicenter 38°27′N 87°53′W / 38.45°N 87.89°W / 38.45; -87.89Coordinates: 38°27′N 87°53′W / 38.45°N 87.89°W / 38.45; -87.89
Lick Prairie Precinct,
Wabash County, Illinois
(5 miles north-northeast Bellmont, Illinois)
Areas affected United States
Max. intensity VII (Very strong)[1]
Casualties 2 injuries

The 2008 Illinois earthquake was one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in the state of Illinois, measuring a magnitude of 5.4.[2] It occurred at 4:37am CDT (9:37:00 UTC) on April 18 within the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone at a depth of 11.6 km. It was centered near West Salem, Illinois and Mount Carmel, Illinois (the affected area is west of Terre Haute, Indiana and Vincennes, Indiana; east of St. Louis, Missouri; and northwest of Evansville, Indiana), specifically 38.450°N, 87.890°W,[3] and felt as far as 450 miles (724 km) away.[4] Tremors were felt as far west as Nebraska[5] and Kansas City,[6] as far south as Atlanta,[7] as far east as Kitchener, Ontario[8] and West Virginia,[9] and as far north as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.[10] The earthquake was felt so far away, compared to earthquakes in other regions, because the old, rigid bedrock beneath much of the Midwest allows the tremor to propagate further.[5][9]

The earthquake epicenter was located in the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, which is adjacent to the more famous New Madrid Seismic Zone.[11]


  • In Mount Carmel, Illinois, a woman was trapped in her home by a collapsed porch but was quickly freed and was not hurt. Also, an old school that was converted into a two-story apartment building was evacuated because of loose and falling bricks and because the roof had started to collapse into a couple of the apartments on the top floor.[12] The building was later condemned.[13] A man received serious eye injuries, but did not seek immediate medical attention.[13]
  • In St. Louis, Missouri, the outer lanes on the South Kingshighway Boulevard viaduct were closed between Shaw Boulevard and South Vandeventer Avenue/Southwest Avenue for approximately thirty minutes because pieces of concrete were seen around it, and on the surface streets/railroad tracks below it.[14] Several chimneys collapsed in South St Louis, and the St Francis De Salles Oratory Roman Catholic Parish reported damage to its steeple, and the Basilica of St Louis King of France reported small fragments from the mosaic ceiling. Following the quake, 35,000 people in St Louis County were with out power, as the Labadie Power Station went offline due to strong vibrations. Power was restored by 9:46 a.m.
  • In Louisville, Kentucky, a facade broke off from an older building just south of downtown.[15]
  • In Harrison County, Indiana, across the Ohio River from Louisville, the riverboat casino Caesars Indiana lost power.[15]
  • In Princeton, Indiana, a woman was cut when a crystal figurine was knocked from a shelf in her home.[16]
  • Illinois and Kentucky state highway crews were investigating if any roads or bridges were damaged in the area nearest the quake, only cracks had been reported on U.S. Route 51 near Cairo, Illinois, at the state's southern tip, said Mike Claffey, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation.[17] No roads were reported to be damaged in Kentucky, but inspections were being conducted in the Louisville, Paducah, and Henderson districts, according to the Kentucky Department of Transportation.[18]
  • Unit 4 at Gibson Generating Station automatically shut down after the earthquake due to its vibration sensors.[19]

Emergency response[edit]

Many precautionary measures were taken after the initial quake, including several evacuations.[20] All Vincennes University dormitories were evacuated as a precaution, but no damage was discovered and students were allowed to return after about 45 minutes. A coal mine in Gibson County, Indiana, was also evacuated after the earthquake, but miners returned to work shortly afterwards.[21]

The Gibson County, Indiana, 9-1-1 system was briefly knocked offline due to a flood of calls resulting from the earthquake, but after about 15 minutes service was restored.[21]


A week after the main earthquake, the USGS recorded a total of 26 aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 1.0 to 4.6. The biggest aftershock occurred at 10:14am CDT (15:14 UTC),[11] on April 18; it was a magnitude 4.6, and also centered near West Salem, just north of the original quake.[22][23] An aftershock with a magnitude of 4.0 (initially reported as 4.5) was felt three days later on April 21, at 12:38am CDT (05:38 UTC), centered northwest of Mt. Carmel, Illinois.[24] [25] A 3.7 aftershock struck on Friday, April 25 around 17:30 GMT (12:30 p.m. CDT).[26] A 3.3 aftershock struck on Thursday, May 1 around 5:30 GMT (12:30 a.m. CDT). [27] A 3.6 aftershock struck on Thursday, June 5 around 2:13 a.m. local time.[28]

Earthquake on TV[edit]

Several television stations were live on-air when the quake hit. CBS 8 WISH-TV in Indianapolis, NBC 14 WFIE[29] in Evansville and WAVE 3[30] and WHAS 11[31] in Louisville were doing local news broadcasts when the tremors hit.

Tremors of the magnitude 4.6 aftershock were also caught on camera during a taped interview with the Indiana Department of Transportation in Vincennes, Indiana, as the interviewer asked about the magnitude 5.4 earthquake. It was later broadcast on the Wabash Valley's local news station WTWO's Live at Five broadcast.[32][33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Event 2008qza6 Map". USGS. 18 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  2. ^ "Illinois History". USGS. Archived from the original on 22 April 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2008. 
  3. ^ "Magnitude 5.2 – ILLINOIS – Details". USGS. Archived from the original on 23 January 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2009. 
  4. ^ "5.2 earthquake rattles skyscrapers, nerves across Midwest". Associated Press. 18 April 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  5. ^ a b Jim Suhr, Associated Press (18 April 2008). "5.2 earthquake rattles skyscrapers, nerves across Midwest". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 11 March 2010. It was the kind of tremor that might be ignored in earthquake-savvy California, but the temblor shook things up from Nebraska to Atlanta and rattled nerves in Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Louisville, where bricks toppled to the pavement. Dozens of aftershocks followed, including one with a magnitude of 4.6. 
  6. ^ "Earthquake rocks Midwest, including KC area". The Kansas City Star. 18 April 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  7. ^ "Geological survey now registers quake at 5.2". The Southern Illinoisan. 18 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  8. ^ "Illinois earthquake rattles southern Ontario". National Post. 18 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-18. [dead link]
  9. ^ a b "Nope, you weren't dreaming". Chicago Tribune. 19 April 2008. Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-19. 
  10. ^ "Felt Reports". USGS. 18 April 2008. Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  11. ^ a b "Early Today". KSDK. 18 April 2008.  Television reports
  12. ^ "5.2 earthquake rocks the Midwest". ABC7 Chicago. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  13. ^ a b Easter, Laura (2008-04-22). "Residents 'obviously shaken and concerned' by earthquake activity, Colby Rigg says". Daily Republican Register, Tri-State Media. Retrieved 2008-05-04. 
  14. ^ "Lanes on KingsHighway Viaduct reopened on march 8th 2004". KSDK Newschannel 5 St. Louis. Archived from the original on 2013-01-28. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  15. ^ a b WAVE (TV) 3 News, Louisville, Kentucky, April 18, 2008
  16. ^ "Update: Aftershocks rattle Tri-State Friday". 14 WFIE News. Retrieved 2008-04-19. 
  17. ^ "Strong Aftershock Felt In Midwest". AHN – All Headline News. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  18. ^ "Bridge Inspections Underway in Kentucky". WXIX-TV Fox19 News. Archived from the original on 26 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  19. ^ http://www.tristate-media.com/articles/2008/04/21/pdclarion/news/news1.txt[dead link]
  20. ^ Earthquake Information Archived March 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ a b "Significant Earthquake Rumbles Early Friday". WRAY Radio. Archived from the original on July 21, 2010. Retrieved 2008-04-19. 
  22. ^ "Magnitude 4.6 – ILLINOIS". USGS. 18 April 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  23. ^ "Map Centered at 38°N, 88°W". USGS. 18 April 2008. Archived from the original on 22 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  24. ^ "KSDK NewsChannel 5 – 4.5 Magnitude Quake Rattles St. Louis Early Monday Morning". KSDK. 21 April 2008. Archived from the original on 28 January 2013. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  25. ^ Magnitude 4.0 – ILLINOIS Archived April 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  26. ^ Magnitude 3.7 – ILLINOIS[dead link]
  27. ^ Magnitude 3.3 – Illinois Archived May 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^ http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsus/Quakes/us2008sxba.php Archived June 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  29. ^ Ryan Stroup (18 April 2008). "14 WFIE Sunrise News Shows Earthquake". Retrieved 1 May 2017 – via YouTube. 
  30. ^ Ryan Stroup (18 April 2008). "WAVE-TV 3: Earthquake Shakes Studio". Retrieved 1 May 2017 – via YouTube. 
  31. ^ Local News Video On Demand | WHAS11.com | News for Louisville, Kentucky Archived April 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  32. ^ MyWabashValley.com Media Player Archived June 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  33. ^ MyWabashValley.com Archived June 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

  1. ^ BAP. "Sumner Illinois Weather". Retrieved 1 May 2017.