Was It An Earthquake Or Mine Blast?

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SPARTA, IL. (KPLR) – It was a confirmed earthquake with reports of the ground shaking from Glen Carbon to Carbondale, IL, Wednesday morning.  Hours later, experts said it was no quake, at all.

Sparta, IL, in Randolph County, was the reported epicenter.  

A few people did feel the earth moving there around 7:30 a.m.  

 A short time later, U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Center in Colorado reported a small earthquake.  

After another look at the evidence, the big news in this small town of 4300 people, turned out not to be.

The supposed quake failed to register in the newscast at the local radio station but it did make headlines around the region.  

Kids said they felt something on their way to school.

“Riding my bike.  It wasn’t like really big, but I got to the fence and it was like kind of shaking and I just kept walking,” said Shamon Henry, a 9th grader.  

He said other kids at school thought they felt something, too.  

But from the center of town to the outskirts, most felt or heard nothing.  

Nearly four hours after confirming a 2.5 magnitude quake, the USGS survey reported it was blasting at a nearby coal mine that caused the ground to shake;  not an earthquake.  

It seemed a plausible explanation to Sparta resident, Sylvia Penny.
“I guess because I’ve lived here for 35 years.  When they’re blasting you feel it shaking and you hear things.  So yeah, you would be apt to believe that it was probably an earthquake,” she said.
“I wish I would have felt it.  I never felt an earthquake before.  I was snoozing, too bad,” said Sparta resident, Tasha Roche.

Had she been awake, it wouldn’t have been an earthquake she was feeling.  

An investigator with the USGS told Fox 2 further study of wave forms from the event showed it was consistent with coal mine blasting.  

What look like squiggly lines to most of us, was definitive enough that investigators did not even check to confirm blasting at coal mines in the area.

Fox 2 did.  Sure enough, there was mine blasting Wednesday; routine, but enough to potentially cause a reading on USGS monitors. 

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