Talk:1968 Illinois earthquake

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The lead section currently reads,

It ruptured around 11:02 a.m., ...

Is "ruptured" the standard choice of wording used on earthquake articles to describe the time the earthquake began? If not, is there any reason why "ruptured" is used? IMHO, it simply doesn't seem to read well. Input on this point would be appreciated.

I would also congratulate the editors who are working to upgrade this article to featured status. The progress of late has been excellent.

AGK 19:12, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Copyediting questions[edit]

A few questions as I've been going through this article:

  • "The 1965 shock, however, contradicted this idea, as it was felt only in the local region of Tamms, although it had the same intensity level (VII) as the 1909 and 1968 events, both over 100 times greater in size." If they had the same intensity, then how could they be 100 times the size? Is is the area they were felt over was 100 times the size?
1968 and 1909 events were spread over 500,000 square miles, while 1965 was much, much less spread out. It was concentrated in a small area. "It is interesting to compare this shock with the May 26, 1909, shock and the 1968 shock described below: all had maximum intensities of VII but two had abnormally large felt areas more than 100 times larger than that of the Tamms earthquake" can be found in the fourth paragraph of [1]. ceranthor 18:01, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
  • "Since 1968, other earthquakes have occurred in the same region as the quake, including those in 1838, 1857, 1876, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1887, 1891, 1903, 1905, 1912, 1917, 1922,[b] 1934, 1939, 1947, 1953, 1955, 1958, 1972, 1974, 1984, and, most recently, the 2008 Illinois earthquake." This doesn't make sense as it's written, as most of these dates are before 1968. Should this just be a list of post-1968 events?
Fixed, I think. ceranthor 17:58, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
  • "A post office canvass and meticulous field inspection of the epicentral area ...".Not sure I understand this at all. What's a "post office canvass"? Did someone send out a mailshot? Who?

--Malleus Fatuorum 17:32, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Finishing up[edit]

Since I'm preparing to send this to FAC once more, I'll be listing concerns in an organized manner here.

  • Two more images need alt text
  • PR suggestions
  • Footnote c goes up to a

ceranthor 11:56, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Prose review[edit]

Feedback on the prose, per this request. Sorry about the delay. Steve T • C:

  • "The 1968 Illinois earthquake (or "New Madrid event") struck southern Illinois in the United States on November 9, 1968"—rendered ungainly by the repetition of several pieces of information. Imagine it without the supporting detail and it would read, "The 1968 Illinois earthquake struck Illinois in 1968." I'm not sure how best to resolve it, but remember that the title doesn't need to appear verbatim in the main text (e.g. Electrical characteristics of dynamic loudspeakers). At the very least, the second "1968" can be safely removed.
  • "at about 11:02 a.m."—creates a bit of a cognitive dissonance due to the use together of the "about" qualifier and the very specific-seeming time.
  • "Although no fatalities resulted from the event ..."—redundant; that we're talking about the earthquake is implicit.
  • "... considerable damage was caused, including structural cracks in buildings and toppled chimneys."—I think where possible you could use the active voice when describing the quake itself, as it will put the reader right in the moment, make it more dramatic. For example, "the earthquake caused considerable damage; it cracked buildings and toppled chimneys." Quickie suggestion only; maybe you can come up with something better.
  • "...including the toppling of chimneys..." Is this that significant to be mentioned in the opening paragraph? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Boucher4 (talkcontribs) 23:28, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
  • "The earthquake, felt over an area of 580,000 square miles (1,500,000 km2), affected 23 of the 50 states in the U.S., making it one of the most widely felt earthquakes in U.S. history."—again, nothing much wrong grammatically, but it's probably a little dry. For maximum impact, consider shifting the initial focus from the technical data to the conclusion, e.g. "The earthquake was one of the most widely felt in U.S. history; it affected 23 states over an area of 580,000 square miles (1,500,000 km2)." As before, a suggestion thrown together quickly, but you get the idea.
  • "In studying its cause, scientists discovered the Cottage Grove Fault, in the Southern Illinois Basin."—the second comma seems like it can be safely removed without creating an ambiguity. YMMV.
  • "Response to the earthquake was mixed ..."—I don't know if it's just because of my over-familiarity with film articles, but these sound like dry responses to its critical merits. Perhaps "Reactions to the earthquake were mixed" works a little better, but the problem actually lies with the statement that follows:
  • " ... some people near the epicenter did not notice the shaking, while others panicked."—yup, it's definitely this one that throws it off. You're comparing two incomparable reactions. Consider what the contrasting statements would be: "some people noticed the shaking" / "some people did not"; "some panicked" / "others did not". These can't be mix-and-matched. The solution would depend on whether both sets of people were near the epicenter (it's unclear), but it would fix what's wrong with "Response to the earthquake was mixed"; you don't mean "mixed", which implies a contrast, but "varied" or similar. (e.g. "Reactions to the earthquake varied, from those who ...") It might be desirable to get rid of that introduction altogether, perhaps moving sentences around so you lead with the more dramatic "Within the region, millions of people felt the rupture."
  • "it has been estimated that"—estimated by whom? Naming names would not only avoid the question but have the added bonus of allowing us to switch to the active voice.
  • "within the next 50 years"—as of when? In ten years that statement will be dated.
  • "likely originating in the Wabash Valley fault on the Illinois–Indiana border or the New Madrid fault zone."—very slight ambiguity; I had to visit the New Madrid article to get it clear in my head what it meant. Consider changing Wabash Valley to Wabash Valley fault zone and sticking a comma after "border".
  • "Recorded seismic activity in Illinois dates to 1795, when a small event shook the frontier settlement of Kaskaskia."—unless chosen for a specific technical reason, use "earthquake" instead of "event" here; otherwise, it will likely just hold the reader up while they ponder the significance of the word change.
  • "Data from large earthquakes that occurred in May and July 1909 and the November 1968 shock, respectively, suggest earthquakes in the area are of moderate magnitude and are felt over a large area."—a little cumbersome; by the time I reached the end, I had to re-read. Could be rendered more concisely without losing any of the intended meaning: "Data from large earthquakes—in May and July 1909, and November 1968—suggest that earthquakes in the area are of moderate magnitude and can be felt over a large geographical area."
  • "The 1909 Aurora earthquake, for example, affected people in an area of 500,000 square miles (1,300,000 km2); the 1968 Illinois earthquake was felt by those living in an area of about 580,000 square miles (1,500,000 km2)."—begs the question about which earthquake hit Aurora. Perhaps say: "For example, the May 1909 earthquake that hit Aurora ..." Consider linking Aurora too.
  • "The 1965 shock contradicted the idea that all quakes in the region are felt over a wide area because this one was noticed only near Tamms, even though it had the same intensity level (VII) as the 1909 and 1968 events."—just a little ungainly; perhaps it could be made more concise: "Contradicting the idea that the region's earthquakes are felt over a wide area, a 1965 shock was only noticed near Tamms, even though it had the same intensity level (VII) as those of 1909 and 1968."
  • "Since 1968, other earthquakes have occurred in the same region, including events in 1972, 1974, 1984, and, most recently, the 2008 Illinois earthquake."—a reader might parse this as "including events in ... the 2008 Illinois earthquake", which doesn't quite work.
  • "The quake's epicenter of the quake was about 120 miles (190 km) east of St. Louis, close to the Illinois–Indiana border. Surrounding the epicenter were several small towns that were built on flat glacial lake plains and low hills."—minor redundancies. Perhaps pipe "plains" into the link to remove ambiguity.
  • "Later, scientists described the rupture as 'strong'"—later, as in modern-day or merely soon after the earthquake?
  • "However, scientists eventually realized the cause was an unknown fault"—suggest "then-unknown" for clarity.
  • "The shaking extended eastward to Pennsylvania and West Virginia, southward to Mississippi and Alabama, northward to Toronto, Canada, and westward to Oklahoma."—in previous sections you don't use the "-ward" suffix when describing its reach; either is fine, but it should really be one or the other throughout.
  • "Isolated reports were received from ... Reports of the earthquake also came from ..."—what's the difference here? I can't tell what "isolated" is doing, how it's differentiating the two lists of report locations.
  • "The worst affected areas were around Evansville, Indiana; St. Louis; and Chicago, but there was no major damage."—what's the meaning of "around" here; does it refer to the surrounding areas, close to but not within these towns/cities, or does it denote an approximate location?
  • "In the end, there were no deaths, the most severe casualty a child knocked unconscious by falling debris outside his home."—I think the sentence works well enough without "In the end"; fewer words leads to a greater impact in this case. Not sure that "severe casualty" works either; an injury is severe, a casualty isn’t.
  • "Consisting of fallen chimneys, foundation cracks, collapsed parapets, and overturned tombstones, it spawned cracked interior walls, cracked plaster, and broken chimneys in the home of one family in Dale, Illinois"—dangling modifier, or close to it. Also, "spawned" is redundant", and the wording makes it sound like the "cracked interior walls, cracked plaster, and broken chimneys" were suffered by the Dale family, rather than (as I assume) just broken chimneys.
  • "Outside this four-state zone, reports of things oscillating including cars, chimneys, and the Gateway Arch were notifying authorities."—doesn't work whichever way I look at it.
  • "McLeansboro, Illinois, in particular experienced minor damage"—you can probably throw away "Illinois"; it's implicit at this point and will make the statement read more cleanly.
  • "Its local high school reported 19 broken windows in the girls' gymnasium, along with cracked plaster walls, and most of the high school's classrooms sustained fractured walls."—the last statement feels tacked on. The way the sentence is constructed leads the reader to expect another item in the series of things broken in the gym ("broken windows, cracked plaster walls, and ..."); only when halfway through does it become apparent that it's not, and it jars.
  • "a block composed of brick and concrete fell off the top of the structure."—could be rendered more concisely as "a brick and concrete block" and maybe "of the structure" removed as it's obvious to what the statement refers.
  • "experienced chimney failure"—sounds like a mechanical failure rather than a structural one (an engine fails, but a tower collapses).
  • "with as many as three chimneys toppled at one home, leading to further damage."—"with" is a clumsy connector at the best of times; here it seems to be taking the sentence in one direction (towards the present participle "toppling") before jarringly going in another (towards the past participle "toppled"). Try replacing it with a semi-colon. After that, "as many as" is probably redundant.
  • "The majority"—can often be replaced by a word of fewer syllables, such as "Most" without losing any of the intended meaning or style.
  • "He also described it as 'a very rare occurrence'."—unclear whether David Roll means the lack of aftershocks or the earthquake itself.
  • "workers rushed out of the building, thinking a water tank ... had fallen"—by "water tank", do you mean a water tower or similar? If not, it should be stated from where the water tank fell, as it begs the question (like if we said a car had fallen).
  • "Individual reactions varied from person to person. Some described the earthquake as a "shock", while others admitted to being "shaky" for the remainder of the day. Harold Kittinger, a worker at the Suntone Factory, described his reaction as"—can probably be made more concise by discarding redundant words and statements, e.g. "Reactions varied: some described the earthquake as a "shock"; others admitted to being "shaky" for the rest of the day; Harold Kittinger, a worker at the Suntone Factory, said" (that he's describing his reaction is understood from what he then says).
  • "One woman hypothesized that the earthquake was a bomb."—not the earthquake, strictly speaking, but the tremors, as at this point she doesn't know it's a quake.
  • "Apart from the millions who encountered the earthquake,some Some did not notice the earthquake; Jane Bessen, said her party was "in a car ... to Evansville and didn't know about it until we got there".—redundant, and the comma after "Bessen" should be removed.
Future threats
  • "In 2005, scientists determined there is a 90 percent probability of a magnitude 6–7 earthquake"—minor redundancy.
See also
  • All these are already contained within the article text, or at least can be. No real need for the section in that case.

And that's pretty much all I saw on my pass; it might seem like a long list, but you'll see that there's nothing major here. Any questions, comments (or rebuttals!) I'll keep this watchlisted for a bit. All the best, Steve T • C 07:54, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Note C[edit]

I don't understand the existence of Note [C] which starts "This is not exactly correct..." The note does not help explain anything. Binksternet (talk) 02:38, 11 September 2009 (UTC)


Can someone please specify the date this occurred, preferably in the introduction? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:34, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Erm, it's specified in the first sentence... ceranthor 13:14, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
It was only in the infobox when the request above was made. Now it's in the first sentence, but this reads poorly as a result. I'll try to fix it. -- Avenue (talk) 15:50, 8 November 2009 (UTC)


Wait, you just promoted it, and it's already on the front page? Neat timing Cer :) ResMar 17:46, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Well, in August, actually... but thanks. :) ceranthor 17:53, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

--JeffGBot (talk) 13:51, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Now a FA in Chinese Wikipedia[edit]

I have translated this article to Chinese Wikipedia here and promoted to FA status, and I want to thank User:Ceranthor for his effort to write this amazing article. --Jarodalien (talk) 16:07, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

Wow, cool, thanks for letting me know. ceranthor 20:57, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

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