UPDATED 12/30/10 5:19 p.m.
GREENTOWN, Ind. (CBS) — An exceedingly rare earthquake struck central Indiana Thursday morning, and some Chicagoans felt tremors.
The 3.8-magnitude earthquake was centered about 15 miles east-southeast of Kokomo, Ind. and about 50 miles north-northeast of Indianapolis, and was felt around 6:55 a.m. Chicago time.
The epicenter was five miles southeast of the rural town of Greentown in Howard County, Ind.
John Steinmetz of the Indiana Geological Survey said there have only been two earthquakes of equal or greater magnitude in central Indiana in the past 175 years.
“We have so few earthquakes in the northern half of Indiana that we can’t say for sure — it may be related to a little-known fault called the Sharpsville fault, which runs just east of Kokomo, Indiana; north of Indianapolis,” Steinmetz said.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Nancy Harty Reports
The U.S. Geological Survey website says the quake was felt as far away as Cincinnati; Toledo, Ohio; and Pittsburgh.
LISTEN: 911 Call From Near Epicenter (1 of 2)
LISTEN: 911 Call From Near Epicenter (2 of 2)
The epicenter was in a cornfield between the towns of Greentown and West Liberty, Troy Kehoe of CBS affiliate WISH-TV, Indianapolis, reported.
Some nearby residents reported looking at the cornfield and seeing a ripple run through the ground, Kehoe reported.
“I looked out and saw a hump in the cornfield and they said it’s still there,” said one area resident.
WBBM Newsradio 780 reports there was no serious damage or injuries, but a lot of shaking. The damage was largely limited to minor events, such as pictures falling from walls in houses, Kehoe reported.
Some Indiana residents reported the earthquake was a like a large jet flying over their homes at a low altitude.
“It sounded like a sonic boom,” one resident said.
“I thought something crashed through our house. We were terrified,” said another resident.
Howard County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Rogers says the department was bombarded by phone calls after the quake from people wondering what had happened. He says some people reported hearing a loud boom.
Indiana University geologist Michael Hamburger said the quake was felt across central Indiana and into western Ohio. He said the temblor occurred in an area “that’s seismically very quiet.”
Hundreds of WISH Facebook fans have posted how they felt the earthquake, the station reported.
A viewer told CBS 2 she felt the earthquake in Naperville. Lake Barrington resident Angela Incandela also felt the earthquake.
“I felt my bed shaking, and I kind of remember the last time we had an earthquake, and that’s the first thing that went through my mind,” Incandela told CBS 2.
She said she became frightened when her perfume bottles started shaking on her dresser, but the trembling soon stopped.
Two earthquakes have rattled the Chicago area in recent years.
This past Feb. 11, a 3.8-magnitude earthquake struck an epicenter 1 mile south-southeast of Pingree Grove, which is about 40 miles northwest of Chicago.
No serious damage was reported, but many people reported thinking they heard an explosion when the earthquake struck.
CBS 2’s Mary Kay Kleist was preparing the morning’s weather forecasts at the CBS 2 Broadcast Center at the time, when lights started moving in the studio, and, “suddenly, I thought a truck was going to hit the building.”
On April 18, 2008, a 5.2 magnitude earthquake struck with an epicenter about 7 miles from downstate Mt. Carmel, about 230 miles south of Chicago. That earthquake was felt around the state, including in Chicago. Downtown skyscrapers shook, but damage was mostly seen downstate.
WBBM Newsradio 780’s Nancy Harty contributed to this report.
(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)