It's the New Madrid Fault! April 18, 2008 3:21 AM   Subscribe

Who else felt this morning's 5.4-magnitude Illinois earthquake?

Mods, feel free to delete this if need be. I don't know if this is an accepted use of MeTa or not, but I didn't see anything about the earthquake on the blue, and couldn't think of a non-chatfilter AskMe question about it.

While I understand that bigger earthquakes than this happen on a regular basis in other places, and in fact do happen fairly regularly on the New Madrid fault as well, this was still a pretty big one for us in the Midwest. Big enough that I felt it in my apartment building in St. Louis, Mo. (Hence why I'm awake right now.)
posted by limeonaire to MetaFilter Gatherings at 3:21 AM (81 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

FYI, according to the U.S. Geological Survey:

The largest historical earthquake in the [Illinois Dome/Ozark Basin] region (magnitude 5.4) damaged southern Illinois in 1968.

So this is pretty big.
posted by limeonaire at 3:29 AM on April 18, 2008

I think this is the first "mefi gathering" post made after the fact.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:09 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

102 years to the day after the Great 1906 San Francisco quake.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:38 AM on April 18, 2008

We are in Des Moines... didn't feel it in our sleep but we woke up to our two budgies startled and flying around in their cage right at that time.
posted by starman at 4:53 AM on April 18, 2008

I guess the Mefi Meetup was under the door jamb, right?

I was 3 miles as the crow flies from the epicenter of the '94 Northridge Quake. Those of you who were "shaken" by the experience have my sympathy, unless you've been one of those who told us Southern Californians "You pansies would go into a panic if you saw a wisp of snow..."
posted by wendell at 5:19 AM on April 18, 2008

I'm in Chicago and my husband and I woke up to the bed shaking. We had no idea what was going on (earthquakes didn't even cross my mind, having lived in the Midwest my entire life) until this morning. Amazing.
posted by agregoli at 5:21 AM on April 18, 2008

I actually wondered if perhaps my neighbors next door were having freakishly athletic, yet totally silent, sex.
posted by aramaic at 5:36 AM on April 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

The highest magnitude quake recorded on the New Madrid was the one in 1812 that rang churchbells in Boston and altered the course of the Mississippi River (and supposedly made it run backwards for awhile). Noticeable quakes on that fault line are less frequent than San Andreas, but they tend to be of a higher magnitude when they are noticed. And because of the geology of the region, they damage is more widespread when the bigger quakes do happen in that part of the country. A 8.0 in Illinois is actually worse than a 8.0 in California because there's nothing but sediment-- no other faults, not a bunch of rock. Shock waves just spread out without much to stop them.

Memphis is pretty much just waiting for the next "big one" and has been for years. The area was sparsely populated in 1812, but it's very different now. In the 1990s, some wahoo was in the media there predicting THE NEXT BIG ONE to the day, and much of the city panicked, even peopel who knew better. Because what if he's right? Nothing happened.
posted by Tehanu at 5:42 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

earthquakes didn't even cross my mind, having lived in the Midwest my entire life

I realized I'd lived in Boston for too long when I woke up a couple months ago in my apartment in Japan, with my first thought being, "would those motherfucking trucks stop rumbling down the fucking street in the middle of the goddamned night." Then I noticed the whole building was shaking and kept doing it.

freakishly athletic, yet totally silent, sex

from outside, earthquakes are freaky loud. The noise is worse than the shaky part.
posted by whatzit at 5:44 AM on April 18, 2008

Trucks: the earthquake I experienced in Oregon felt, and sounded, exactly like a big-ass dump truck rattling along my street.

...naturally, everyone else laughed at me when I asked why so many big trucks were rolling by at this time of day.
posted by aramaic at 5:49 AM on April 18, 2008

It woke me up in my hotel room in Savoy, and like aramaic, I wondered if some other guests were getting a bit frisky. I'm across the street from the train tracks, but even groggy I knew this was no train.

And to think that my relatives were visiting in northern California this week. Heh.
posted by metabrilliant at 5:51 AM on April 18, 2008

This was like 4:45 this morning? Huh, I'm in St. Louis and woke up thinking something had hit the side of the house. At least I didn't dream it...
posted by khaibit at 5:54 AM on April 18, 2008

Definitely felt it in Chicago and spent about ten minutes trying to decide if there was some sort of silent explosion or if my apartment building was trying to fall down. I knew that it wasn't the train because I couldn't see one out of the window. I had no idea that it could even have been an earthquake until that was the lead story on the radio when my alarm went off this morning.
posted by betty botter at 6:04 AM on April 18, 2008

Bloomington, IN: Definitely woke up and thought "What the hell was that??" and then promptly went back to bed.
posted by toomuchpete at 6:15 AM on April 18, 2008

pug fart. happens every night here.
posted by quonsar at 6:28 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Perhaps notable that I didn't feel it, near Indianapolis, at 5:37 a.m. local time. But then, I was sound asleep at the time and I tend to be a heavy sleeper. I understand some of the people I work with felt it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:32 AM on April 18, 2008

Hemm, well I was asleep, so I was out cold, if it did reverberate up here (Madison, WI).

That said, a couple years ago, there was another earthquake. Very slow, the whole house just rocked and swayed gently. Nothing violent, and at first, I had no clue what it was, didn't feel like what I expected an earthquake to be, but then after thinking about it, I hit up USGS, and sure as shit. It would've been damn cool to feel it last night, if it were possible.

I wonder though, that means it's been a couple that I potentially could have felt in the past few years. Is this a sign of increasing activity?
posted by symbioid at 6:38 AM on April 18, 2008

Aw...they downgraded it to 5.2. Although I'm not really surprised, considering it didn't actually destroy things.
posted by limeonaire at 6:44 AM on April 18, 2008

It woke me up in Indianapolis this morning. At first, I thought it was a dream, but when I realized I could hear the things on my shelves gently bumping the walls, I knew it was real. (Just not a detail I could have imagined, I guess.)
posted by headspace at 6:46 AM on April 18, 2008

Woke me up in Evanston, IL. Puppy and girlfriend slept through it. I thought I'd dreamed it until I checked in on the news this morning.
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:00 AM on April 18, 2008

Mods, feel free to delete this if need be. I don't know if this is an accepted use of MeTa or not, but I didn't see anything about the earthquake on the blue, and couldn't think of a non-chatfilter AskMe question about it.

posted by mkultra at 7:05 AM on April 18, 2008

Didn't feel anything, though I'm a pretty sound sleeper.

I did feel one a few years ago.

Here (in the MKE), my list of natural disaster fears goes something like

1. Flooding
2. Ball Lightning
3. Tornadoes
4. Very Very Strong Winds
5. Extreme Cold
6. Extreme Hot
99. Earthquakes
100. Tsunamis
posted by drezdn at 7:07 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

In the NW Chicago suburbs -- I didn't wake up at all.
posted by sugarfish at 7:08 AM on April 18, 2008

Woke up. My lamp was on the floor, two pictures were slanted, and the stack of book boxes by the couch had fallen over. There was a large crack in the (plaster and lath) wall and a good deal of broken dishware in the kitchen.

Of course, I realized I did all of that staggering in last night after slamming thirty seven tequila sours and a Budwieser with Boysenberry.

But seriously -- didn't feel anything, but many of my cow orkers in St. Louis did.
posted by eriko at 7:13 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

I woke up five minutes before the fact, without provocation from my alarm clock, and went back to sleep. Suddenly the vibration started. I thought it was the wind, since our house kinda hums and hooms in heavy wind, but there wasn't the usual sound of my screen door opening past the latch (as it does in gusts). My fiance, a geologist woke up from her deep sleep and said, dumbass, it's an earthquake, and got up to calmly move to a doorframe. After a few seconds, she yelled at me to do the same, and then we stood there, in the door frame, watching the house shake. After the tremors subsided, my alarm went off.

This really freaked my shit out. Normally, I pride myself on keeping a level head in a crisis. But the house is heavy. But the whole heavy house was bucking like a car when you dump the clutch. Obvious hyperbole, but the phrase "shatterer of worlds" came to mind - earthquakes are basically the sound of breaking glass, only, lower frequency on account of the different scale involved.
posted by notsnot at 7:19 AM on April 18, 2008 [3 favorites]

Lake County, Il, near the Wisconson border. I briefly woke up some time last night with a vague sense of "did something just happen? something shook?" Then fell back asleep, only to be left to wonder if I had actually experienced the quake when I heard about it in the morning.
posted by Reverend John at 7:25 AM on April 18, 2008

pug fart. happens every night here.

You fart pugs?

Dude. Seriously. Cut down on the carbs, and for that matter, the hot dogs.
posted by eriko at 7:25 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Columbus, Ohio reporting in. Flames reaching three stories high now. Listen: Hopefully this will get the word out because we have onl
posted by hal9k at 7:28 AM on April 18, 2008 [6 favorites]

OK, so a couple of days ago there was a news report that seismologists had predicted a 99.9% chance of a big earthquake hitting California by 2017, or something like that.

I mentioned to my daughter that this was hardly a "prediction" to be proud of, and that it would be more newsworthy if they predicted a big earthquake in "some place like Iowa".

So I'd like to offer my sincere apologies for causing this.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:38 AM on April 18, 2008

Bloomington, IL - didn't really feel it, heavy sleeper, but the cat did, freaked out and jumped off the nightstand, knocking over a frame in the process, and waking me, who felt the last tremors.
posted by tr33hggr at 7:42 AM on April 18, 2008

I'll have what quonsar's having. It wakes my wife up when I fart no matter what, so I figure she may as well get a puppy to cuddle with while she's dozing off again.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:43 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

We were the neighbors having extremely athletic sex last night. Sorry.
posted by desjardins at 7:44 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

I used to live in Southern California and I miss earthquakes.
posted by languagehat at 7:51 AM on April 18, 2008

Very freaky. Just shook again! (10:15 am CDT)

Last night, I woke up thinking the dog was running in his sleep, but then I realized no, it was an earthquake. The worst part was the aftershock. I thought, dude, is it just revving up for something huge? I am about 80 miles north of the epicenter.
posted by cass at 8:17 AM on April 18, 2008

slept through it in kalamazoo, but ... a couple of minutes ago, was there an aftershock? my monitor started rocking a little on the desk
posted by pyramid termite at 8:18 AM on April 18, 2008

I slept right through it; thanks, alcohol!

notsnot's account pretty pithily shows how, at least in my experience, People Who Know It's An Earthquake have wildly different reactions from People Who Don't. I left the geologically underachieving American Northeast for college in Northern California in September of 1989, and when Loma Prieta came rumbling through I didn't immediately have a very clear idea of what had happened. It was actually, for a few minutes, incredibly exciting: the earth, and everything on it, had moved, as violently as I could imagine, and I hadn't even dropped my tray of food.

I went out into my dorm's courtyard, and it was like a holiday from reality had been declared. Eighteen-year-olds from Pakistan and Kansas and New York were shouting and laughing and physically glowing with the exhilaration of momentarily riding the planet like a roller coaster. It took a few minutes for everyone to notice that the native Californians were ashen-faced and crying. It took another few minutes to realize that those Californians, veterans of innumerable 4.6s and 5.4s, knew instinctively that many, many people were certainly dead.

The larger aftershocks, a couple of hours later, presented to an audience whose nervous systems had been forcibly and hastily rewired, provided a communal experience that was not nearly as gleeful as the first.
posted by dyoneo at 8:18 AM on April 18, 2008 [9 favorites]

I slept through the first one, but I just felt that aftershock.
posted by pieoverdone at 8:19 AM on April 18, 2008

Aftershock! Damn, that was freaky. Still.
posted by notsnot at 8:20 AM on April 18, 2008

Woke me up. I'm from California, living in Chicago. Thought I was losing my mind. I wasn't.
posted by rbs at 8:23 AM on April 18, 2008

Heh. Thought I might've just felt an aftershock—but then again, given the Class C quality of the office building I work in, it could've just been a car blasting the bass outside.
posted by limeonaire at 8:24 AM on April 18, 2008

was awake at the right time feeding a baby, but only heard it. didn't realize what i heard until the next morning. western 'burbs, chicago.
posted by lester at 8:27 AM on April 18, 2008

Count me as another one who slept through the first and felt that aftershock. I got a text message from my buddy asking if I felt the first one, and it took me a few minutes to make sure he wasn't pulling my leg. Oddly enough, my dog was also unfazed.
posted by kyleg at 8:31 AM on April 18, 2008

Those of you unaccustomed to earthquakes may not know that the USGS really really wants you to report what you felt, where you were when you felt it, if there was any damage, etc. Report it here!


A California resident whose commute to work follows the San Andreas fault for ~20 miles.
posted by rtha at 8:34 AM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Mm. I filled out a full report when I was awakened this morning, actually, and spent a while poking around the site. I'm still completely fascinated!

(Also: The 10:14 a.m. aftershock was a 4.5—crazy!)
posted by limeonaire at 8:39 AM on April 18, 2008

I did! I attributed it to a tiredness-induced hallucination and found it satisfying to find out today that it was actually a real event.
posted by ignignokt at 8:39 AM on April 18, 2008

Thanks for the reporting site link!
posted by aramaic at 8:41 AM on April 18, 2008

My daughter called me earlier - she lives in S. Wisconsin. It woke her up, she heard something fall in the living room, got up to use the loo, and went back to bed. She found out later it was the earthquake and said, "but they said it wouldn't happen until 2010!" Heh, I had to tell her they can't predict them that accurately.

We get 'em here in Maine, but they're smaller. 2.9, stuff like that. I'll take these small puppies over tornadoes any day.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 8:43 AM on April 18, 2008

It took a few minutes for everyone to notice that the native Californians were ashen-faced and crying.

As a born and raised native of NorCal, I find this one a little out there. I've lived through plenty of quakes and never saw anyone ashen-faced and crying about speculated dead somewhere else.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:01 AM on April 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

Milwaukee; didn't feel a thing.

Which is not entirely accurate; while comfortably ensconce in my bed, I felt the cat leaping off the shelf like a professional wrestler doing a top-rope takedown, where the unsuspecting opponent was my feet under the blankets.

It was not unlike an earthquake in that it brought me from a deep sleep, to a near panic in mere seconds.

I wouldn't call it a 5.4 scale cat attack though. Maybe a 3.8 or so.
posted by quin at 9:15 AM on April 18, 2008

Felt the second one in Mid-Missouri.
posted by chara at 9:27 AM on April 18, 2008

As a born and raised native of NorCal, I find this one a little out there. I've lived through plenty of quakes and never saw anyone ashen-faced and crying about speculated dead somewhere else.

Fair enough. I may have been exaggerating slightly, but the Californians really did react differently, and more seriously, and there was crying. Teenage hormones and the being-away-from-mom-and-dad-for-the-first-time-ever factor undoubtedly heightened those reactions. I think a lot of them were worried about their families, because a 7.1 really is a different beast from a 5.5, and they knew the difference.
posted by dyoneo at 9:31 AM on April 18, 2008

I've lived through plenty of quakes and never saw anyone ashen-faced and crying about speculated dead somewhere else.

Which obviously means that situation just. isn't. possible. Pick your battles, sir.
posted by carsonb at 9:36 AM on April 18, 2008

(Just for the record, I totally previewed to ensure ultimate irony.)
posted by carsonb at 9:37 AM on April 18, 2008

Friend of mine works for an Evansville, IN TV station that was on the air during the quake. He gloated that the other local channels aren't live at 4:30 in the morning, so it's quite a coup for them.

Because, you know, an off-balance weatherman makes for good news in E'Ville, I suppose.
posted by peacecorn at 9:39 AM on April 18, 2008

I missed the quake. Or at least my concious mind missed it - I had a rather vivid dream about a car crash right around the time the ground was shaking.
posted by Iridic at 9:58 AM on April 18, 2008

If I stayed up for just another half hour or so, I would've been awake for the damn thing.
posted by theiconoclast31 at 11:50 AM on April 18, 2008

It's very hard for me to believe this happened and it didn't wake me up. I'm a very light sleeper. I wake up if one of my dog shifts position in her bed.

I think you're all playing a prank on me.
posted by iguanapolitico at 12:03 PM on April 18, 2008

I live in Indy. I was getting ready for work when it happened. At first, I thought that the train on the train tracks behind my subdivison had de-railed a mile or so away. Then I thought "Earthquake! In Indiana?! WTF?!!"

I tried to wake my wife, but it was over before she woke up. When I told her what happened, she gave me the "Have you forgotted you meds, again, Steve?" look and fell back asleep.

I wasn't scared. I know that you Californians are used to them, but this was like a tornado in LA in January, in terms of surprise.
posted by SteveTheRed at 12:03 PM on April 18, 2008

In Champaign it woke my wife and me while we were sleeping last night, and the ceiling fan hanging over our bed was shaking enough to worry us a bit. The aftershock late this morning, though, was much cooler because it felt a bit briefer but more intense. And the folklore seemed to hold true: my dog was barking about it before I felt it myself.
posted by zeugitai_guy at 12:05 PM on April 18, 2008

For the Loma Prieta I was in a video game arcade in Berkeley and probably a good 1/2 of the patrons just kept playing their games, blase as could be. I thought it was fun, personally, though that's undoubtedly because nobody I knew personally was hurt in the quake. I am resisting the urge to pat your little Midwest 5.4 earthquake on the head - how cute! The things that stop me are (1) that would be incredibly annoying, and (2) I'm sure it would provoke a rash of tornadoes and hurricanes out here as cosmic justice.
posted by whir at 12:07 PM on April 18, 2008 [2 favorites]

I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the quake woke me up. I thought it was a bad dream and promptly went back to sleep (I recall dreaming about sinusoidal waves). I got an e-mail from a friend this morning asking if I had felt the quake which made me realized that it wasn't a bad dream at all. I talked to most of my coworkers this morning and they didn't feel a thing. I think that my room's location on the top floor of a 160-year-old brick building amplified the effect.
posted by kscottz at 12:13 PM on April 18, 2008

Few miles east of Cincinnati, and it woke us up -- I think because it was rattling the shower doors. Pretty freaky. We also thought trucks in rumbling down the street at first.

I felt one in downtown Cincinnati where I was on the 21st floor of a building in 2002. People thought I was nuts.
posted by dpx.mfx at 12:14 PM on April 18, 2008

The head of security at my school (in iowa) sent us an email to the effect of "hi, there was an earthquake, people felt it in Des Moines." it also contained the curious line, "If you felt the shock waves and were on campus please send me an email and let me know." Presumably, our security office is planning on kicking the earthquake's ass.
posted by dismas at 12:41 PM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think that my room's location on the top floor of a 160-year-old brick building amplified the effect.

Yeah, that'll do it.

The first Real Earthquake (i.e. above 4.something) I felt when I moved to SF came when we were at a movie. We were at the Castro theater, a beautiful old revival theater with a huge screen and a balcony, and we were watching All About Eve. The place was full of homos, all of us saying the lines right along with the film, when the building started to shake and the big (huge!) chandelier hanging from the center of the ceiling began to sway back and forth. Everyone got up and quickly - but calmly - began to move to the exits. Where everyone paused, and turned to keep watching the movie. I didn't see anyone leave the theater. We just all stood there, watching the screen to make sure we didn't miss anything (from a film everyone had surely seen at least a dozen times). When it looked like nothing else was going to happen, we all went back in and sat down. But nobody sat under the chandelier.
posted by rtha at 12:51 PM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Another report from Champaign. I was totally out of it when it woke me up this morning. Ever seen that Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry David beats the hell out of the smoke alarm? Yeah, that was me. I was feeling franticly all around the window, trying to get it to stop shaking so I could go back to sleep. Didn't really think to ask myself why it was shaking.

The aftershock was kind of weird. By the time I figured out what was happening, it was over!
posted by sbutler at 12:52 PM on April 18, 2008

Maybe it's just my building.. but I'm in Chicago and was actually awake watching TV and didn't feel a thing...
posted by twiggy at 1:47 PM on April 18, 2008

I slept through it. My students noticed the floor shaking during the aftershock this morning. They got all excited and it took them forever to calm down.
posted by mai at 2:23 PM on April 18, 2008

Grand Rapids, MI

I got up to use the bathroom and feed the cats. One cat wouldn't eat and was distressed. I tried to go back to sleep but was so worried that my baby was sick. All the sudden the bed started moving and I heard the blinds rattle in the window. "OMG THE BED IS MOVING" He woke up and stopped the blind moving. "The window is open, its just the wind." and he said in the annoyed kinda way of someone who was just woken up way too early. I sat in bed a little longer, worrying about my cat and knowing that I had really, truly felt the bed move, but there was no way to prove I was right. It crossed my mind that it felt like a small earthquake (I grew up in Seattle) but then thought... "nah, not in Michigan."

When I saw the news articles saying there was in fact an earthquake I did a little victory dance. (I'll do another one when he gets home from work and I can prove to him I'm not crazy, at least this time).
posted by silkygreenbelly at 2:49 PM on April 18, 2008

I felt it all the way down in Knoxville, TN, along with many others here, according to the local news - just a very gentle rocking I probably would have missed if I hadn't been half awake already.
posted by frobozz at 2:51 PM on April 18, 2008

By the way, the cat that was acting weird and not eating shortly before the quake is now fine. I always thought that the pets being crazy= earthquake thing was bull, but this has got me wondering.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 2:53 PM on April 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

It was about 4:30 central time here when I felt it. Woke me out of sleep, the whole house was moving back and forth and I got a glimps for the first time what one of these things must be like. I don't think I like the idea very much. Anyway at about 5 AM I headed down the street to the 13th street cafe and had two eggs over medium with bacon and hashbrowns, and a side of biscuits and gravy.
posted by nola at 7:11 PM on April 18, 2008

When my family moved out to California, everybody we left behind were actually, really concerned about two things regarding our family's safety: 1) Gangs, and 2) Earthquakes.

Living in SoCal, I've become quite accustomed to earthquakes; and I always find it ironic when bigger earthquakes hit areas that are simply not known for having earthquakes, and California is bypassed.

I think dyoneo's characterization of Californians may have been true in that situation. How much you freak out is directly related to your company, and kids are prone to the dramatic. I don't think it's true that all Californians would freak out in the case of an earthquake. Some of us are more like battle-hardened veterans than post-traumatics prone to flashbacks.

But I hope you all enjoyed your 5.4. I'm dreading my next one, and can only hope that it's as low as 5.4.

But maybe the gangs will get me first.
posted by jabberjaw at 7:45 PM on April 18, 2008

After reading this, I've never been more happy to be out of California. I loved the state but earthquakes freaked me out. Florida might get hurricanes, but I can choose to get the hell out of the way when they're coming.
posted by empyrean at 9:10 PM on April 18, 2008

I missed the aftershock, too! I suddenly feel a lot better about my house's foundation.
posted by sugarfish at 10:02 PM on April 18, 2008

Just found this discussion. Woke me in Urbana, Illinois. I've been through one before, in 1974 on the fourth floor of a dormitory in Urbana. I hadn't been through one before, and it was high up in a large building. Had everyone rushing into the hallway, wide-eyed at each other. Including me. This one shook the small apartment building I'm in right now, about as much; less to fall on you and I recognized it wasn't even going to raise any dust. I (pretty much) fell back asleep. Here's a USGS general description, and I found a seismometer reading of the quake, here.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 12:48 AM on April 19, 2008

Northern IL, slept through it.
Several years ago, there was one about halfway between Chicago & The River, which nobody slept through. The entire town went out in the streets in their jammies, all "WTF"? Fortunately, the Regional Distribution Center for Former Californians had provided one per block, who informed the locals, "It's an earthquake; go back to bed". Some of the locals were not quite right for some time after, however.
Some years ago, I was on the phone with a California teenager when the building guys knocked some ductwork out of the ceiling, causing the worst crash I've ever heard. The young lady on the phone quickly responded, "Is it an earthquake? Run to the doorway; I can hold!"
posted by unrepentanthippie at 10:06 AM on April 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Spoke with my dad in Collinsville, IL (east of St. Louis). The earthquake woke him and his wife that morning - they thought it might be a tornado - but all is well. The felt the aftershock after 10 that morning as well.

It seems folks in ATL felt it, but nobody in my household did...
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 1:12 PM on April 19, 2008

I slept through the first one, but I felt the aftershock in Iowa City. I went to elementary school in southern Indiana and we had earthquake drills at least once a year because of the New Madrid fault. When the dishes started rattling, I got up and stood in a doorway, but it was sort of anti-climactic for my first earthquake.
posted by stopgap at 1:45 PM on April 19, 2008

I'm in Chicago, and my apt constantly rumbles from the eL trains. But for some reason, this woke me up. At first I did think it was the train, but then I didn't hear any trains, and my bed was still vibrating all magic-fingers-like. I knew instantly what it was, even though I'd never experienced one. I think what gave it away for me was that I heard the 19th Century building around me settling a little. Went back to sleep, amused, and then checked the interwebs first thing and confirmed it.
posted by ninjew at 1:46 PM on April 19, 2008

I was asleep on the second floor of our house in Bloomington, IN. Some combination of the dog flipping out and the windows rattling woke me up at 5:28am Eastern. The house was shaking, but only very slightly. I figured it must be a really nasty wind, so I ran downstairs and turned on the TV to see if there were any tornado warnings. The local channels did not have any weather on at the moment, and the shaking had stopped, so I went back to bed. Wasn't until later that I realized there had been an earthquake. I grew up in Vegas and spent 9 years in the Phoenix valley (I was also visiting Riverside, CA (or maybe it was Irvine) when one of those big quakes that are thankfully centered in the middle of nowhere hit)*, so I'm quite familiar with what a big earthquake feels like from far away, but three years in the Midwest seems to have damped my quakesense. I've noticed that people not on the ground floor tend to notice these more than those at the bottom.

*Does anyone remember the one I'm talking about? Somewhere closer to LA than to the other big cities, but far enough away that there weren't many casualties (single digits at most). Somewhere between 1999 and 2002, by my best guess. I'm thinking between 5-7 on the Richter scale (I know that's a big gap, but not remembering how far away it was, I can't judge based on how it felt).
posted by ErWenn at 10:37 PM on April 19, 2008

South city St Louis representing up at 4:30 on the nose to get a bottle for our baby, just in time to feel the rumbling. A box of oatmeal fell off the shelf in the kitchen, but not much else happened. I was on the shitter when the aftershocks rolled through. I wasn't sure what was happening but then felt a splash of dirty water on my butt.
posted by slogger at 7:38 PM on April 20, 2008

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