4:40am:

There was just an earthquake! It felt pretty mild, but it was strong enough and long enough to wake me up. Must be the New Madrid fault acting up.

4:48am:

Looks like a five-pointer about 200 miles east of here near the border of Illinois and Indiana.

4:56am:

Officially event 851141: 19 miles SSE of Olney, Illinois, Mag: 5.4. Nice.

And nothing on the local news yet... I'm pretty sure I broke the story... insofar as a natural disaster story can be "broken".

6:01am

Maps and more data.

7:30am:

Downgraded to 5.2. Yes, everyone will be talking about it here for a month. "Where were you during the earthquake?" Sleeping. "Yeah, me too!"

Here are some factoids I didn't know:

Earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S., although less frequent than in the western U.S., are typically felt over a much broader region. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt at many places as far as 100 km (60 mi) from where it occurred, and it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake usually can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from where it occurred, and sometimes causes damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi). ...

At well-studied plate boundaries like the San Andreas fault system in California, often scientists can determine the name of the specific fault that is responsible for an earthquake. In contrast, east of the Rocky Mountains this is rarely the case. The Illinois basin - Ozark dome region is far from the nearest plate boundaries, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean, in the Caribbean Sea, and in the Gulf of California. The region is laced with known faults but numerous smaller or deeply buried faults remain undetected. Even the known faults are poorly located at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few earthquakes in the region can be linked to named faults. It is difficult to determine if a known fault is still active and could slip and cause an earthquake. As in most other areas east of the Rockies, the best guide to earthquake hazards in the Illinois basin – Ozark dome region is the earthquakes themselves.

When my wife and I woke up and ran downstairs, we went straight to the internet. It never even crossed our minds to turn on the television.

8:52am:

There are probably 50 news crews at the collapsed porch.

10:16am:

An aftershock, preliminarily rated magnitude 4.5.

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