By Mike Scott
Many area residents felt the pre-dawn earthquake, centered near Bellmont, Illinois., 128 miles east of St. Louis The 5.2 magnitude quake, which struck at 4:37 AM, was felt as far away as Des Moines and Milwaukee. It was the strongest quake to hit Illinois since 1968.
“I believe we had six calls from local residents,” said Clark County Sheriff Roy Gilbert. “We had no reports of damage around here, but there were some windows broken in Randolph County.”
Local reports included shaking buildings and rattling dishes.
The quake was followed by a number of smaller shocks, which ranged from a magnitude 2.2 to 4.6. The smaller quakes continued throughout the weekend.
Travis Mathes of Kahoka didn’t feel the initial quake, but he felt the shock later that morning while in meeting in Palmyra.
“I could feel something, and noticed the water in my bottle of water was moving. It was kind of eerie,” Mathes said.
Within 90 minutes after the first earthquake was felt in Missouri, MoDOT’s Northeast District crews had activated their strategic earthquake plan, inspecting all major river bridges in the area. “It doesn’t look like there is any visual damage to any of our major river bridges,” said Northeast District Engineer Paula Gough.
The Mark Twain Memorial Bridge, over the Mississippi River in Hannibal, the Champ Clark Bridge over the Mississippi River in Louisiana, the Des Moines River Bridge, over the Des Moines River near St. Francisville, the Bayview Bridge and the Quincy Memorial Bridges over the Mississippi River near Quincy, and the Keokuk bridge over the Des Moines River/Mississippi River were visually inspected before 9 a.m. The Senator Christopher S. Bond Bridge near Hermann is also being inspected. The rest of the morning will be spent inspecting bridges at Mark Twain Lake.
“We don’t anticipate any problems, but will continue to monitor these bridges to ensure no visual damage appears,” Gough said. “Throughout the state, MoDOT crews activated the earthquake plan, which includes inspecting all major river bridges, and it doesn’t appear we have any damage, even in St. Louis,” Gough said.