Video: Rare 3.8 magnitude quake rocks Chicago area

  1. Closed captioning of: Rare 3.8 magnitude quake rocks Chicago area

    >> you later in the broadcast.

    >>> our next story comes from the american midwest . it also involves nature, and the weirdest kind of wake-up for people in the chicago region. turns out it was just what they suspected. tonight the story from nbc's john yang .

    >> continuing the earthquake coverage this morning, never thought i would say that.

    >> reporter: beneath a blanket of fresh snow outside chicago this morning, a rude wake-up call.

    >> we felt it have a good rumble where it oak everybody up.

    >> couldn't figure out what was going on. i thought i had a bad dream .

    >> reporter: the unusual 3.8 magnitude quake hit just before 4:00 a.m .

    >> phones in our newsrooms and police stations ringing off the hook.

    >> reporter: it didn't cause any reported injuries or much visible damage, but it startled people as far away as michigan and iowa.

    >> 3.8 happens every week in california. in illinois, it's a once every 20 years sort of event.

    >> reporter: the epicenter was about 40 miles west of chicago . scientists said it didn't appear to be related to either of the area's two known major faults. in chicago , digging out from as much as a foot of snow, many didn't notice.

    >> actually, i thought it was a small shark in the snow.

    >> reporter: big snowstorms, howling winter winds and even though it may be hard to imagine on a day like today, sweltering summer heat , but earthquakes?

    >> you expect that in other states, but not here. it's weird.

    >> reporter: the midwest is no stranger to quakes. in early 1800s , three massive ones in missouri levelled 150,000 acres of forest, created new lakes and changed the course of the mississippi river . scientists said today's small quake probably isn't a sign of a bigger one on the way leaving residents to cope with the more usual kind of fallout. john yang , nbc news, chicago .

    >>> we are going to, i

NBC News and msnbc.com
updated 2/10/2010 7:20:20 AM ET 2010-02-10T12:20:20

A small pre-dawn earthquake has hit northern Illinois, startling sleepy-eyed residents as far away as Iowa and Indiana, but no damage or injuries were immediately reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 3.8-magnitude earthquake hit about 50 miles northwest of Chicago at 4 a.m. Wednesday. The USGS initially reported the magnitude as 4.3 but later downgraded it.

USGS geophysicist Amy Vaughan said such quakes are rare in northern Illinois. The agency received reports from Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana about feeling the ground shake, she said.

A spokesman for the Sycamore Fire Department described the earthquake as "just a little shake."

Sheriff's dispatchers near the epicenter in Kane County have been flooded with calls from startled residents. But spokesman Lt. Pat Gengler said no injuries or damage have been reported.

Residents reported being tossed out of bed and finding books and tools scattered across the floor.

NBC News and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.

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