PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Earthquakes aren’t unfamiliar to us here in the Wabash Valley. This area in particular doesn’t look like a threat. But it’s what’s beneath the soil that gives us the shakes.
The Storm Team reached out to Dr. Michael Hamburger with Indiana University, and he gave a little insight into where these earthquakes originate from.
“These are ancient fractures that get reactivated from time to time.”
We live in an area that is known as the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone. It encompasses an area from southeastern Illinois to the southwest and west-central Indiana.
The earthquakes in our area are usually called intraplate earthquakes that happen deep inside the North American plate. The specific movement of the plate is a strike-slip fault where the earth’s crust moves horizontally against each other. The Parke County earthquake occurred in the basement rock that occurs beneath the sedimentary layer.
Not much is known about these types of faults. But seismologists can learn a lot about events like what happened last week by instruments called seismographs. Dr. Hamburger explains why these instruments play a bigger role than just finding where an earthquake is located.
“They are the instruments that provide us with precise information about the location, the depth, the magnitude, the type of faulting that occurred.”
Dr. Hamburger passed along this seismogram (below) that was taken during the event from Indiana University.
Three other seismographs from, St. Louis, Missouri, Hopedale, Illinois, and even Ann Arbor, Michigan picked up similar readings ranging from 60 miles to 250 miles away from the epicenter in Parke County, Indiana.
Earthquakes in the Wabash Valley can travel for many miles solely based on the type of soil and ground found in the Midwest.
Although the Parke County earthquake was only a 3.8 on the Richter Scale and the scale and location only occur every 5 years or so.
Dr. Hamburger says everyone in the Wabash Valley still needs to be ready for the next big quake. But that next big quake is anybody’s guess.
“There is potential for larger earthquakes in our part of the world and that’s something we should be prepared for. It could be tomorrow. It could be a thousand years from now.”
Just like the weather, it’s always very important to stay prepared even for earthquakes here in the Wabash Valley.