A 3.7 magnitude earthquake was registered by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) at 1:42 a.m. Thursday about 11 miles southeast of Gassville in Baxter County, Ark.
Several in West Plains, about 70 miles northwest of the quake’s epicenter, reported waking to hear dishes rattling. The USGS’s “Did You Feel It” reports show weak shaking was felt as far north as Springfield with some moderate shaking reported in Ava to the north and Harrison, Ark., in the south.
Most reports were attributed to the Mtn. Home, Ark., area and surrounding communities, but 27 reports from West Plains were made. The majority of those reports indicated weak shaking was felt.
According to the Richter scale a 3.7 magnitude quake is considered minor, is often felt but rarely causes damage. Sometimes, indoor objects can be noticeably shaken.
The USGS also classifies the event as a 4 on the modified Mercalli intensity scale, meaning the shaking could be likened to the passing of heavy trucks. Vibrations from a quake of that intensity can cause stopped cars to rock, hanging objects to swing, and windows, dishes and doors to rattle. In the upper range of an intensity-level 4 quake, wooden walls and frames can be heard to creak.
Parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana are identified as belonging to the Illinois Basin-Ozark Dome Region, which borders the more seismically active New Madrid seismic zone.
The largest earthquake in the Illinois Basin-Ozark Dome region was a magnitude 5.4 quake in 1968 that damaged southern Illinois, according to the USGS.
Once a decade or two, moderate earthquakes occur somewhere in the region, the agency says, and smaller earthquakes are felt once or twice a year.