February 10, 2010

Small Earthquake Shakes Up Chicago Suburb

A small earthquake rattled windows, set off car alarms, and jolted people from their sleep at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning near Chicago in the western suburbs of Geneva, according to officials.

The 4.3 magnitude quake's epicenter was about five miles east of Sycamore, and four miles northwest of Virgil. It was 48 miles west of Chicago, according to USGS geophysicist Amy Vaughan.

Vaughan told the Chicago Sun Times that she was not aware of any injuries and did not know the extent of damages as of 4:20 a.m.

Vaughan said the quake was real. "We have it as a seismic event." The phone lines at the USGS have been flooded ever since the early morning shaker. Most of the phone calls were from residents who thought they were going crazy, she added.

Many reports came in from people who felt the earthquake as they were either starting their day or in the middle of late-night shifts.

Jack Barry, Asst. Managing Editor of Interactive Media at the Chicago Sun-Times who lives in Glen Ellyn, said he and his wife were already up when the tremor hit. "I felt the bed shake and she felt the house shake."

A dispatcher at Boone County Sheriff's Department told the Times she felt two small rumbles that lasted about 10 seconds altogether. She reported no calls of injuries or property damage came in as of 4:30 a.m.

Deputy Laura Fink of the Sycamore Police Department said she received several calls about the earthquake, but nobody reported injuries or property damage. She said the quake was felt at the police office. "It sounded like a big explosion," she said.

Winnebago County Sheriff Sgt. Aaron Booker said he thought the earthquake was thunder at first. "I felt the whole building shake," he said. According to Booker, the quake struck about 25 to 30 miles away from his Rockland police headquarters.

As of 4:45 a.m., Booker had not received any reports of injuries or property damage. However, calls were coming in over the 9-1-1 system from people looking for answers.

Rachel Olson, an employee of 7-Eleven in Sycamore, was working when the quake hit. "The windows and ceiling were rattling and one ceiling tile fell out," she reported. She thought the quake lasted about a minute, and as of 5:30 a.m. had not seen any emergency vehicles on the road.

Police News Affairs Officer Ronald Gaines said as of 6 a.m. he had not received any reports of injuries or property damage. 


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