Earthquake Shakes Indiana
Tremors were the strongest in 15 years

by Frankie Ferrell
Indiana Daily Student

Published June 20, 2002
Updated 03:23PM Thursday, July 25, 2002

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Not since 1987 has Indiana felt the ground move.

Tuesday afternoon some area residents and businesses called local police to find out if what they felt, had actually been an earthquake.

The earthquake took place around 12:37 p.m., and originated a few miles from Evansville. Even though Evansville is nearly 130 miles from Bloomington, local residents still got a little shake from this quake that was registered at 5.0 on the Richter scale.

Many residents didn't feel anything, and those who did were confounded. Bert Harrill, an interim faculty member in religious studies at IU, was in his apartment when he felt the ground move.

"I felt the apartment shake and didn't know what it was," Harrill said, "I just thought a large truck went by."

Most businesses were also unaffected though there were some noted effects. An associate at Lowe's said some of the chandeliers were shaking, while another employee said he felt out of the loop because he didn't feel anything at all.

The owner of Magic Planet, Misty Smith, was at the pool when it occurred and didn't notice it, though she did get a call from her husband around 2 p.m. Her husband Greg Smith works in Columbus at Cummins Engine Co., and noticed while he was sitting at his desk.

"I work on the second floor, and we often feel things rumble," he said. "But this lasted for about five seconds or more."

Whether they felt it or not, many people at least knew someone who did. Harrill explains his roommate's reaction to the natural phenomenon.

"He was walking around the apartment and was completely surprised to find the place shaking like that between his steps," Harrill said.

More than where a person lived, the effects of the earthquake seemed more dependent on the individual's sensitivity to it. IUPD Lt. Jerry Minger said there were maybe 10 phone calls that were mostly from curiosity, and there was no damage reported by any means.

"Some downtown buildings felt it, while buildings adjacent to those felt nothing at all," Minger said.

Brent Foschee, a geophysicist at the Indiana Geological Survey, said earthquakes aren't completely out of the ordinary in the Midwest.

"Scientifically it was not a surprise, but it was still a surprise," Foschee said. "This is just a moderately sized earthquake."

Foschee also talked about the steps the organization plans on taking to keep track of activity.

"We're actively looking to move to more seismic monitoring," Foschee said. "This was a nice reminder to head in that direction."

Region Editor Matt Rodewald contributed to this story.

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