Indiana earthquake strikes in rare location

Dec 30, 2010

Bloomington - Thursday's earthquake was felt in four states beyond Indiana. At Indiana University's Seismic Station, the phones were ringing off the hook.

It's an earthquake scientists describe as rare, unusual and unprecedented as far as its location in Indiana.

The quake registered on seismographs at IU's lab Thursday morning. It picked up the vibrations centered in Howard County, kicked the pens all over the place and splattered ink across the paper.

Although the quake was originally reported as 4.2 magnitude, the US Geological Survey downgraded it to a 3.8. Scientists say that's because more information came in from recording stations around the world.

Indiana has had earthquakes in the past, the most recent in April 2008. But most of them over the years have been centered around the Wabash Valley fault in southwestern Indiana.

This time the location is rare. It's only the third earthquake of note to hit north of Indianapolis in 175 years.

Report quake damage here.

Scientists scoured their maps for fault lines nearby and say it was likely triggered by the Sharpsville fault, alittle-known fault Near Kokomo.

"We know so little about it simply because it's deep within the earth and we haven't experienced any seismic in this part of the state in our historic records," said John Steinmetz, Indiana Geological Survey.

"This earthquake was in an area with relatively low previous seismic activity. It's kind-of a reminder that earthquakes can happen almost anywhere in the midwest and every once in awhile they surprise us," said Michael Hamburger, IU professor, Geological Sciences.

Although there are no injuries reported and no significant damage, the Geological Survey has been in touch with the US Department of Transportation. They will likely want to check overpasses and bridges to make sure there is no danger there.



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