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Last modified: Friday, April 18, 2008

IU investigates earthquake

April 18, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Department of Geological Sciences has quickly mobilized, sending two field teams to deploy instruments in the region of Friday morning's earthquakes. Michael Hamburger, professor of geological sciences , said the seismographs and Global Positioning System (GPS) units being deployed will record aftershocks, half a dozen of which have already occurred.


Photo by: Jacob Kriese

Michael Hamburger (right), professor of Geological Sciences, discusses information gathering techniques with doctoral student Gerald Galgana. Galgana led a field team to study the effects of a 5.2 magnitude earthquake that occurred at 5:36 a.m. Friday morning about 38 miles north-northwest of Evansville, Ind. A second quake measured 4.5. It occurred at 11:14 a.m. Friday around 5 miles east/northeast of West Salem, Ill

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"We're trying to learn more precise information about the earthquake's exact location, depth and relation with geological structures in the area," said Hamburger. "And also to learn more about the processes that produce earthquakes in the region."

Residents throughout the Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky region felt the earthquake that measured 5.2 on the Richter scale around 5:30 this morning. Hamburger said his dog woke him up around that time, followed by his phone ringing off the hook, before he hurriedly headed to his office.

The earthquake originated 38 miles northwest of Evansville, Ind., from a depth of 7.2 miles in the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone. Although unexpected, the earthquake is fairly typical for earthquakes that happen in that area every 10 to 15 years.

A second quake, at 11:14 a.m. Friday, measured 4.5 on the Richter scale, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Its epicenter was reported to be 5 miles east/northeast of West Salem, Ill.

Collaborating with the IU Department of Geological Sciences to study the aftershocks, which may occur for up to a week, are the Indiana Geological Survey, the Illinois State Geological Survey, and Center for Earthquake Research and Information at the University of Memphis.