MONTEZUMA, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A 3.8 magnitude earthquake occurred Thursday afternoon in the northeast area of Montezuma, Ind., in Parke County, according to the US Geological Survey. It happened just before 3:30 p.m.
Citizens who were at the epicenter of the earthquake may have experienced shaking. However, a 3.8 magnitude earthquake is not likely to cause any significant or structural damage, USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso said. Dispatchers in Parke County said they have not yet received any reports of injury or damage in the area.
Town Clerk-Treasurer Cathy Morgan said she felt the earthquake shake the building at the Montezuma Utility Office.
Clinton, Indiana resident, Shaylynne Addison says she was leaving her house when she felt a rumble.
“It was pretty surprising. I thought it was like a jet, or a semi, or something driving by. I was looking out at the window trying to see what it was,” Addison said.
Parke County sits in what is called the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, a concentrated area where earthquakes are likely to occur. Polly Sturgeon, Outreach Coordinator for the Indiana Geological and Water Survey, said this area is susceptible to minor earthquakes every five to ten years as a result of being in this seismic zone.
While the quake was classified as minor, building damage is still possible. Montezuma Fire Department Chief, Kurt Lanzone encourages anyone who felt a shake to self evaluate their property.
“There’s still a good time after the action and make inspections on infrastructure and make sure it’s okay. People can go make those inspections on their house anywhere in any drywall, any concrete, anything that’s structurally supporting,” Lazone said.”
Sturgeon said data from those in surrounding areas is still coming in. People from as far as Bloomington, Indianapolis, Logansport and Kokomo, Ind., have reported feelings effects of the earthquake to IGWS.
“There is no real way to predict these earthquakes, so they are random,” Sturgeon said. “They’re random but not out of the ordinary.
For Montezuma City officials, the next steps after this earthquake is to ensure public safety.
Town Council President, Jay Norris, says the biggest threat to the area is possible damage to the city’s guideline.
“We do have emergency plans for gas, water, sewer systems, and so forth. But, as I said, we have not had any reports of damage or anything like that,” Norris said.
Despite registering as only a 5, or moderate, rating on the IGWS intensity scale, Sturgeon said it is important for people in the area to be prepared.
“Always be ready for aftershocks,” she said. “They don’t always happen with earthquakes but they can.”
Sturgeon said the best way to handle being inside of an earthquake is to immediately hit the ground and cover your head. To report feeling effects of this earthquake, fill out a “Did you feel it?” survey on the IGWS website.
Chief Lazone encourages residents to remain prepared.
“I think the biggest thing anyone can do is review those steps for an action plan, that way they can be prepared if we have something that happens like this again,” Lazone said.
Lazone says anyone who smells or detects gas should call 911 and evaluate immediately.
For anyone in the Montezuma area that needs their gas service evaluated, call 765-245-2759 or 765-245-2211.