PARKE COUNTY, IND. (WTHI) --Some thought it was a popped tire, a fallen tree, or even an explosion! But, many were surprised to learn it turned out to be an earthq uake.
"I was upstairs looking for a book in my bookshelf, and all of a sudden, it felt like someone hit the house," Jerry Bates, a Parke County resident, said. "I felt it begin to shake. I yelled down to my wife, 'Did you fall?' And then she yelled up to me, 'Honey did you fall down the steps?' I ran down quickly and said, 'I think we just had an earthquake.'"
Thursday afternoon left many residents, like Jerry and Dawna Bates, a little bit shaken.
"You are just full of questions like, what was that!" Dawna Bates, a Parke County resident, said.
On Thursday afternoon at 3:18 PM, the US Geological Survey Breakdown reported a 3.8 magnitude earthquake. The epicenter was just 1.8 miles west of Bloomingdale, Indiana, or about 5 miles northwest of Rockville. This is one of the largest earthquakes the state has seen in years.
"In the moment, it really gets your attention because you don't know what it is," Jim Meece, president of the Parke County Board of Commissioners, said. "You don't know if a tree fell on the house or if the house is falling down, and you are right in the middle of it."
A 3.8 magnitude earthquake may seem quite small, but it is fairly high for residents in the Wabash Valley.
"I've felt probably 4 or 5 in my lifetime, but this was by far the biggest one that I've felt," Meece said.
The good news is, Parke County officials say there are no reports of any injuries or major structural damage in the area. They say they are grateful it wasn't any bigger.
"It could've been damaging, and it could've cost a lot of people a lot of money and maybe lives," Mecce said. "But it didn't. So we are okay, and we are lucky that everything turned out the way it did."
Now Jerry, Dawna, and many others can rest easy knowing that everyone and everything is okay.