Friday at approximately 4:36 AM the Midwest was rocked by a rare but significant earthquake.
Measuring 5.2, with its epicenter about 38 miles north-northwest of Evansville, Indiana, news reports claimed it could be felt as far as 900 miles away.
As a lifelong Midwesterner, I've felt only one earthquake my entire life. It was some time in the late '80s. I was at home, sitting in my living room, when I felt something gently shaking my chair back and forth. It was almost as if a very large semi-truck was rumbling by right outside my door.
Despite all the dramatic news coverage on this latest quake, I managed to sleep right through it. A terrible, dual irony, since I probably would have enjoyed it, and have laid awake at precisely that time on countless nights.
I may still get my chance, however, because seismologists say the New Madrid Fault could make a big move pretty much any time. The New Madrid Fault is responsible for what is considered one of the largest earthquakes in American history, striking twice on December 16, 1811, then again on January 23, 1812. The final, and strongest quake, occurred on February 7, and aftershocks continued for weeks afterward.
The quakes created new lakes -- such as Tennessee's Realfoot Lake -- altered the flow of the Mississippi River, and delivered strong movement over approximately 50,000 square miles. For comparison, the San Francisco's earthquake of 1906 traveled only 6,000 square miles. Experts now estimate the New Madrid quake's strength at 8.0.
If and when it hits, scientists say the movement will be strong enough to shake our groove things all the way north to Milwaukee. And for our friends further south -- say, Little Rock, Arkansas -- the effects will be especially pronounced.
That is, if the Yellowstone supervolcano doesn't get us all first.
This has been your Good Scare for the day.