Magnitude 3.8 Quake Wakes Up Chicago Area

A small earthquake woke residents and shook furniture in northern Illinois early Wednesday, causing no major damage or injuries but startling people as far away as Michigan and Iowa.

The epicenter of the 3.8-magnitude earthquake was near the villages of Gilberts and Pingree Grove in Kane County, about 45 miles northwest of Chicago, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake hit at 4 a.m. Sheriff's dispatchers and the USGS were flooded with calls from concerned residents.

"It's rare in northern Illinois," USGS geophysicist Amy Vaughan said. "It's downstate where we'd expect the larger quakes and where the larger ones have happened historically."

The USGS initially reported the magnitude as 4.3 but later downgraded it. Vaughan described the shaking as light to moderate.

Residents in Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan also reported feeling the quake, she said.

In Pingree Grove, 43-year-old artist Dan Erman said the temblor moved his bed and woke him.

"I knew it was an earthquake," Erman said. "It was pretty loud. The bed headboard was hitting the back of the wall."

Erman said he heard dogs barking and when he looked outside he saw his neighbors turning on their lights. There was no damage to his home.

Some residential and business alarms were triggered, but deputies weren't called for assistance, Kane County sheriff's spokesman Lt. Pat Gengler said. DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott said residents in his area also reported feeling the earthquake, but no damage was reported.

The last earthquake in the area was recorded at a magnitude of 4.2 on June 28, 2004, about 35 miles away from Wednesday's temblor, according to the USGS.

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