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The Quake of ’89

All my friends and relations up in Indiana are talking about the earthquake last night.

None of them seem to remember the Quake of ’89 as well as I do. Mom thought it was 87, JB thought it was 86, and Lee doesn’t recall a quake in his lifetime. But I remember it like it was yesterday. I was home from college for the summer, losing my mind, and so I was on the phone talking to the police in preparation for hitchhiking around the country. In the middle of our conversation the whole house started shaking.

“Hey,” I said, “is it shaking over there too?”

“Yes,” said the voice on the other end of the line. “I think it’s an earthquake.” Then the switchboard lit up and she had to go.

But I guess the quake of 89 doesn’t hold a candle to this one. Still, this wasn’t the Big One. I’m glad for that. As I e-mailed to Mom this morning:

Let’s hope we never see a bigger one, at least not anytime soon. I know the Midwest would fare better than New Orleans for many different reasons, but believe me when I say our government is not ready for a major disaster. Glad this wasn’t one and that you’re all right.

The USGS has a great graphic showing the Midwest Earthquake Hotspot.

Published inEcologyMiscellaneous


  1. My grandma called me at 4 am. She’s in Chicago. All of her other grandchildren live in Chicago. Why she called me… who knows.

    I’m also very glad it wasn’t on the New Madrid fault. When that one hits, Chicago will be rubble.

  2. Rachel (Lee's wife) Rachel (Lee's wife)

    I remember the one in ’87 but not ’89. I was young regardless :-). I also remember the one in ’02, which was about the same size as our aftershock. At least there was no widespread damage. We’re all lucky.

  3. Lee Lee

    hmmmmm…………it finally worked!

    Anyway, to the point now. I don’t remember the quake of ’87 or ’89 because I was only 6-9 years old. I didn’t feel the one of 2002 either, but I sure felt this one. I think it was because I was on my bed at the time. I had woken up to pee about 5:30 am and just laid back down, when I had gotten settled the bed, it started shaking. To make a clear mental picture, it was almost as if my wife and I were in marital bliss at that moment. I’ll be working on a post of my own.

  4. B, I was in southern Indiana today and just got back to Chicago. Sonya, Julian, and I awoke to my room in Bedford shaking all around. I think the last one was around 1987, because soon after that I remember some expert saying that we were supposed to have a large earthquake in 1989 and that it was hit St Louis hard. My grandparents chained down their hot water heater too which has remained that way. Of course nothing happened until now.

  5. Rachel (Lee's wife) Rachel (Lee's wife)

    Here are some dates and magnitudes of the earthquakes we are talking about from the USGS. They don’t have a 1989 one on here, but maybe it didn’t register too high.

    1987 06 10 – Near Olney, Illinois – M 5.1
    2002 06 18 – Darmstadt, Indiana – M 4.6
    2008 04 18 – Illinois – M 5.2

  6. loula loula

    well, welcome to my world. In California were I live, freaky weather is rain, mudslides, fires and earthquakes, but no Katrias (yet). And hey still havent found a way to predict the quakes. As a survivor of ’71 Sylmar, 89 San Franciso (Loma Preta) and the 94 Northridge, I can tell you that you need a quake food kit in your car, and prepare to live outside your house before “social services”come in and try to “help you” by restricting you and forcing you into some sor of shelter. We are all going to be ready aspossible, for self-sufficiency pretty much any time. Now, I think I’ll go down to Costco and restock our “war food” -peanuts, beans,and cinnamon pop tarts. (oh yes) lots of water and some spirits on. may be time for real, honest-to-god generators. Mini sterno stove helps too, along with all those 9/11 flashlights and money stashes.

  7. Ray Ray

    I lived in San Francisco in ’89, so I remember “the ’89 quake” but obviously a different one from the one you’re talking about.

    You could see the Milky Way from the middle of Haight Street that night. It was freaky.

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