CHICAGO (CBS) — The 5.9 magnitude earthquake that rattled the East Coast on Tuesday may have been felt here in Chicago.
Immediately after the quake hit in Virginia, several people in the northern suburbs, including Evanston, Skokie and Deerfield, reported feeling mild shaking in their offices.
University of Illinois geologist Steve Marshak told WBBM Newsradio it is absolutely possible for someone to have felt it in the Chicago area.
“It would not be unheard of if some of the vibrations were felt by people in the Midwest who happened to be in places where they are away from traffic noise,” Marshak said.
He said people likely felt a slight vibration. “It might be enough to catch your attention,” he said.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody Reports
Northwestern University Professor Suzanne Vanderlee said she did not feel the quake in the Chicago area, but she wouldn’t contradict those who said they did.
“The motions that people would have felt would be very minor, but it’s possible.”
A professor of earth and planetary sciences at Northwestern, Vanderlee said seismometers did register vibrations in the 1 to 2 magnitude range in the Chicago area.
So, she said the Virginia quake might have been felt very lightly by people on the ground – if there were no heavy trucks passing at the time – or more likely by people in high-rises.
But any vibrations in the Chicago area would have been too small and too far from the Virginia epicenter to cause any problems locally.
The quake on the East Coast was centered to the southeast of Charlottesville, Va.
It was felt up and down the coast, and forced the evacuation of several buildings, including the Pentagon and Capitol complex in Washington, D.C.
Chicago is about 950 miles from the epicenter, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.