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23 earthquakes in four days are rattling nerves in Tri-State region

Indiana, USA
At least 23 earthquakes have shaken the Tri-State during the past four days, including the magnitude 5.2 shocker Friday and a 4.0 aftershock early Monday that was one of the strongest yet. Monday’s aftershock was in the same area as Friday’s quake, which itself was followed by a magnitude 4.6 aftershock 5½ hours later, along with a spate of smaller quakes throughout the weekend. “I’m concerned about it. It’s the noise that worries me. The noise is just unbelievable. It’s like a freight train coming through the house. I am tired of it. I’m ready to get a good night’s rest without having to worry about the earthquake alarm instead of the alarm clock.” The quake originated in the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, a series of faults straddling the Wabash River in Illinois and Indiana. The Wabash Valley system has been more active in producing greater-magnitude quakes in the last 40 years compared with the New Madrid, which lies just south of the Tri-State along the Mississippi River Valley. Although the New Madrid has produced catastrophic 7.0 or stronger quakes, such devastating quakes haven’t occurred in the Wabash Valley since prehistoric times. As a result, many seismologists believe activity in the New Madrid zone is waning. “All the activity since 1968 that people have felt, it is all due to the Wabash Valley." But research has continued to be directed at the New Madrid instead of the Wabash Valley.

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ILLINOIS - Earthquake a possible cause of water main breaks - Tuesday marked five days and counting for a boil order affecting 1,400 Coal Valley water customers. A main broke in Crab Orchard early Friday morning, and they think the earthquake soon after that made the problem worse. "This would've drained our whole system in just a short period of time if a customer hadn't called about the pressure." The earthquake that followed likely took a further toll on the area's old infrastructure, because since Friday..."We've tracked down about four different leaks." Though the transition from winter to spring always brings some leaks, it's never been like this. "We've got more problems now than we've ever had." "I think we'll find a few more. It's just a matter of getting time to run them down." Play Video

A series of earthquakes - the first and largest measuring magnitude 3.7 - rocked the Eureka area Monday afternoon, causing some surprise but no reports of damage. The initial jolt occurred at 3 p.m., just 2 miles west of Eureka at a depth of 13 miles. The second magnitude 2.9 occurred at the same depth exactly 16 minutes later, 7 miles west of Eureka. Over nearly three hours, a total of four earthquakes were recorded near Eureka - the 3.7 followed by two 2.9s and a 2.1. One magnitude 2.8 hit off the coast of Petrolia. The 3.7 quake occurred in the Gorda Plate, which lies 7 to 8 miles below the surface of the North American plate that Eureka sits on. The Gorda Plate is filled with faults and is subject to enormous geological forces. It is essentially in a vice between the Juan de Fuca Plate to the north and the Pacific Plate to the south. ”Basically, the Gorda Plate is stuck between a rock and a hard place.” The Gorda Plate has produced big earthquakes in the past. It produced the 7.2-magnitude quake that was part of a series of quakes in 1992 that shook homes off foundations in Ferndale and caused a fire that burned down the Scotia shopping center. It also produced a strong quake in 1932 that did significant damage.
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