Over 2700+ Earthquakes in Five Years: Unpacking the Midwest’s Unseen Seismic Buzz


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Chicago, IL – While New York City’s recent tremble from a 4.8 magnitude earthquake has sparked widespread concern, the Midwest regularly registers seismic activity—albeit often unnoticed by its residents. 

The US Geological Survey (USGS) reports that in the last five years, the Midwest has silently withstood over 2,700 earthquakes, suggesting a bustling undercurrent of geological activity. Most of these Midwestern tremors are minor, contributing to a false sense of seismic tranquility. Notably, though, the region has not been spared its share of significant shakes. 

In 2021, a 4.0 magnitude quake struck near Williamsville, Missouri, reminding locals of the earth’s latent rumble. Illinois felt a 3.8 magnitude quake in 2020 near the Indiana border, and Dyersburg, Tennessee recorded a 3.7 magnitude quake in the vicinity of the New Madrid fault in 2021, evidencing that the ground is far from still.

The recent New York quake highlights the need for awareness even in areas like the Midwest, which many assume to be seismically stable. While destructive earthquakes are rare in the Midwest compared to the West Coast, the data underscores that smaller, often imperceptible quakes are a regular occurrence. These can be precursors to more substantial seismic events, making vigilance and preparedness key.

Local authorities emphasize familiarization with earthquake safety tips, such as identifying safe spots in homes and workplaces, practicing drop-cover-hold on drills, and maintaining an emergency kit. The objective is to nurture a culture of preparedness, not panic, ensuring that when the ground shakes, the community stands ready.

Moreover, the USGS’s engagement in continuous monitoring and research helps guide the implementation of appropriate building codes and infrastructure resilience strategies. With these measures in place, the Midwest fortifies itself against the unpredictable shifts of the earth, aiming to protect its residents and their way of life against the tremors that are more common than many might believe.


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