A magnitude 3.6 earthquake rattled northern Illinois and parts of three other states early Wednesday, awakening some residents and spurring reports to 911 about homes shaking, the U.S. Geological Survey and police said.
The small earthquake was detected about 4:41 a.m. local time and was centered about sixth-tenths of a mile south-southeast of Standard, Illinois, a town that's about 100 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, the federal agency said.
The temblor occurred about 2.9 miles below the Earth's surface. People living as far away as southern Wisconsin, southeastern Iowa and northwest Indiana reported that they felt the quake, said Jessica Jobe, a research geologist with USGS.
She said "weak to moderate" shaking was reported across that region but the USGS had received no reports of damage.
While there’s neither a history of large quakes in that area of Illinois, nor a known fault zone in that region, Jobe said "small to moderate earthquakes can occur anywhere and anytime in the Eastern U.S."
Administrative Lt. Doug Bernabei with the Peru Police Department, located several miles north of Standard, said he was up making coffee when his house shook. Suspecting it might be a quake, he turned on his police radio and heard numerous calls coming into 911 dispatch from residents.
"We received voluminous amounts of 911 calls. It was literally one call after another," he said. "It shook my house. It wasn’t a rattle, I thought something hit the house. A lot of people were waking up."
Bernabei said he had not heard of any reports of damage because of the quake. He said Illinois Valley Regional Dispatch based in Peru and which covers several north-central Illinois communities received many dozens of calls from residents who felt the quake.
Randy Simpson, a dispatcher for Illinois Valley Regional Dispatch Center, said dispatchers on duty at the time received numerous calls from people who felt the ground shaking or the noise of their homes rattling. There were no reports of damage, he said.
Simpson, who lives in Mendota about 16 miles north of Standard, said he was up watching TV and didn't feel the quake. But a friend who lives in the same community texted him to say he had just felt an earthquake and that his house shook.
"He said, ‘Did you feel that?’ And I was like ‘Feel what?’" Simpson said.