Small Illinois earthquake highlights the dangers of the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone

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Close-up of the Wabash Valley and New Madrid/Reelfoot Rift RLME sources and seismicity from the CEUS-SSC earthquake catalog. Some of the RLMEs occur in regions of elevated seismicity, but others do not

THOMPSONVILLE, Ill. – A small earthquake shook southcentral Illinois at around 7:30 am today. The US Geological Survey says that a 2.3 magnitude quake occurred around 5.4 miles northwest of Thompsonville. No damage or injuries have been reported.

The earthquake occurred in the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone. The area is located in Southeastern Illinois and Southwestern Indiana and it is capable of producing 7.0 magnitude earthquakes.

Washington University researchers tell St. Charles County officials that the zone may pose a greater risk to the area than the New Madrid zone located near Missouri’s bootheel. The potential for a large quake is just as big and the zone is not as well known.

Evidence of quakes in the Wabash Valley Zone goes back at least 6,000 years and more have been recently identified. A 5.0 magnitude earthquake centered near Mt. Vernon, Illinois happened in 2002.

“Earthquakes can happen anywhere and at any time, including while you are at work, at home or on vacation. Today’s earthquake is a great reminder that creating an environment of education, awareness and preparedness can save lives,” writes Illinois Emergence Management Agency Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau.

It’s never too early to register your participation in this potentially life-saving event. Register today at www.shakeout.org.

Earthquake location:

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