PARKERSBURG, Illinois – A seismic jolt sent shockwaves through several Midwestern states late Saturday night, originating from an unusual epicenter in Illinois. The quake, measuring 2.5 magnitude, struck around 11:11 pm on September 9, 2023, causing widespread surprise and concern.
This seismic surprise occurred merely 18 days after a series of five earthquakes rocked the same region from August 13th to the 17th. The most recent and largest of these tremors, registering a magnitude of 2.8 on the Richter Scale, had its epicenter near Lawrenceville, Illinois, at 12:25 PM on August 17th. At that time, it left residents and experts alike pondering the unusual surge in seismic activity in an area unaccustomed to such events.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) detected this rare occurrence, with its epicenter situated near New Salem, Illinois, an area not accustomed to such geological events. The incident immediately raised questions and curiosity as reports of tremors spread across social media platforms. A study conducted in 2005 revealed a 90% probability of a magnitude 6–7 earthquake hitting the New Madrid area within the next 50 years, although it’s been 18 years since that assessment.
Illinois, though not traditionally regarded as earthquake-prone, has seen a noteworthy shift in its geological landscape. The last significant earthquake to hit the Midwest was a nearly 7.0 magnitude quake in Missouri on Halloween in 1895, which was felt as far as from Pennsylvania to Louisiana.
The swift succession of these recent seismic events has raised concerns and curiosity about the region’s newfound vulnerability to earthquakes. Residents and authorities are now faced with the challenge of staying vigilant and prepared for any future seismic occurrences in this once-quiet corner of the Midwest.