Small earthquake northeast of Bonne Terre

BONNE TERRE, Mo. – The U.S. Geological Survey has confirmed a 2.6 magnitude earthquake eight kilometers northeast of Bonne Terre.

It happened at approximately 7:22 a.m. Monday. Residents in Festus, Hillsboro, Potosi and De Soto wrote on our Facebook wall to tell us that they felt the tremors.

Authorities in Jefferson and St. Francois County said they didn't receive any reports of injuries.

A 2.6 magnitude earthquake, according to the Richter scale, is felt slightly by some people and doesn't typically cause damage to buildings. More than one million of these earthquakes occurred per year.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey website, earthquakes occur moderately frequently in the area. The most severe in the region recorded a magnitude of 5.4, and damaged southern Illinois in 1968.

Experts at Washington University say earthquakes similar in size to Monday morning's event do happen a few times a year in Missouri. They're most common in the southeast part of the state, and happen once every several years in the St. Louis region.

They also say the tremor is not any sort of sign that the region could experience a larger one in the near future. But, they say, experiencing a massive quake similar to those that hit in the early 1800s is entirely possible.

"Yes, it's possible and it's something we should be aware of. And we should be designing our buildings and so forth to be safe in an earthquake," said professor Douglas Wiens, with Washington University Earth and Planetary Sciences Department.

Monday's quake would have had to be about twice as big to actually cause any damage. The last time we had one of that magnitude in the St. Louis area was back in the 1970s.


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