Earthquake should be a reminder for Mid-Southerners - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Earthquake should be a reminder for Mid-Southerners

Gary Patterson of the University of Memphis Earthquake Center said the Illinois earthquake was a sharp reminder that we too live on a fault line.

Friday's quake knocked items off shelves, shook nerves, and rattled the needle on this seismograph miles away at the Earthquake Center.

"It actually kind of exceeded our machine's ability to stay on line there and it drops out and it picks up again here," Patterson said.

The main earthquake happened at 4:36 a.m.  Then there was an aftershock at 9:15am.  The question now is will there be more aftershocks?

"Generally, you'll get a main shock and then, over time, they'll get progressively smaller and further apart.  That can take place over hours, days or maybe even weeks," Patterson said.

Patterson hopes people do not get unreasonably scared since earthquakes are less likely than other natural hazards, like tornadoes.

However, a big quake would mean big trouble since quakes are unpredictable.

"It would impact a huge area and it requires a different level of response, like a Katrina size area including the tornadoes that spun off into the Mississippi," Patterson said.

Seismologists are gathering at the quake's core to collect data in hopes they will eventually find a way to predict when they will hit.

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