Earthquakes in Nebraska

2009-12-17T17:05:00Z Earthquakes in NebraskaBy the Lincoln Journal Star
December 17, 2009 5:05 pm  • 

(Click on the title above for the full list)

Earthquakes have been reported in the center and all four corners of Nebraska, with the most activity in the northwest and southeast corners.

The following list, not meant to be comprehensive, was compiled from a 1974 report by Carl A. von Hake for the Earthquake Information Bulletin, and from Journal Star files.

Earthquake intensity is a scale of 1 to 10 to describe how severe an earthquake is in the place you're standing.

Magnitude is an instrumental reading of an earthquake's strength.

April 24, 1867 -- Tremor centered near Lawrence, Kan., but felt across much of Nebraska.

Nov. 15, 1877 -- Probably the strongest earthquake in Nebraska history. There were two shocks 45 minutes apart; the second was the strongest. At North Platte, the shock was reported to have lasted 40 seconds and intensity VII effects were noted. Buildings rocked at Lincoln, and walls were damaged at Columbus. The shock was strongly felt at Omaha. Cracked walls were reported at Sioux City, Iowa. The quake was felt across most of Nebraska and portions of Iowa, Kansas, the Dakotas and northwestern Missouri.

July 28, 1902 -- Intensity V earthquake occurred near Battle Creek in northeastern Nebraska. The tremor was reported "sufficient to rattle dishes and shake bell towers" at several points.

Feb. 26, 1910 -- Several small earthquakes shook houses (intensity IV-V) in Columbus. The shocks were apparently felt in the local area only.

July 30, 1934 -- A strong earthquake centered in Dawes County, in the Nebraska Panhandle, damaged a few chimneys at Chadron. In addition, some plaster fell and dishes and canned goods were thrown from shelves and cupboards. The shock was reported felt at about 125 places, including Sterling, Colo.

March 1, 1935 -- Two earthquakes, 4 minutes apart, the first strong, the second weak, shook the area near Tecumseh and adjacent portions of Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. At Tecumseh, some chimneys were cracked and a few collapsed (intensity VI). A few windows were broken and cracks appeared in plaster and stone walls. Some damage also occurred at Humboldt, Pawnee City, Peru, Shubert, Stella, and St. Marys, Neb., and at Riverton, Iowa.

April 9, 1952 -- Seismograph at Nebraska Wesleyan University records earth tremors of up to four minutes long from strong earthquake centered near Oklahoma City

April 14, 1961 -- Minor earthquake knocks canned goods off grocery shelves, books from school shelves in south-central Nebraska. Beaver City druggist says customer with soft drink saw light fixtures swaying and left the fountain without finishing, saying, "I'm getting out of here."

March 28, 1964 -- Western Nebraska residents were among those who felt a magnitude 5.1 earthquake. It caused many cracks in a road about 10 miles south of Merriman. Some steep banks along the Niobrara River tumbled (intensity VII). Plaster fell at Rushville, and part of a chimney toppled at Alliance. The quake occurred one day after the disastrous Alaska quake.

Nov. 23, 1967 -- Quake reportedly lasting more than two minutes shakes windows, rattles dishes in north-central Nebraska and south-central South Dakota.

Nov. 9, 1968 -- Lincoln feels slight effects of a magnitude 5.5 quake centered in southern Illinois. A receptionist on the eighth floor of the Stuart Building said, "The room started to sway and my typewriter started moving."

Oct. 15, 1972 -- A magnitude 3.7 earthquake occurred in north-central Nebraska. Intensity V effects were reported at Bassett but no damage occurred. The earthquake was also felt at Ainsworth and Newport.

December 1977 - May 1978 -- Residents of southwest Nebraska near Indianola report several small quakes, up to three a day.

May 7, 1978 -- People attending Sunday morning church services in Hyannis said a 10:10 a.m. quake shook the oak pews and brick building of All Saints Church for a couple of seconds. The quake registered 3.8 on seismographs.

June 3, 1982 -- Quake measuring 2.24 on the Richter scale is centered about four miles northeast of Wymore.

Nov. 14, 1982 -- Magnitude 4.3 quake reported along the eastern end of the Nebraska-South Dakota border. "At first, our reaction was that there was a big explosion," said JoAnn Maher, an employee of the Gavins Point Hatchery near the dam. "Windows actually trembled. You could see them move."

Jan. 1, 1987 -- Earthquake centered at Crawford measures 3 to 3.5 on Richter scale.

June 10, 1987 -- Press box atop Ak-Sar-Ben grandstand sways as magnitude 5 earthquake centered in Illinois is felt in Omaha.

Feb. 9, 1989 -- Magnitude 4 quake shakes houses and beds but causes no injuries or damage in Cherry County.

July 18, 1990 -- Earthquake centered near Ord rattles dishes, shakes houses. Valley County sheriff says he hasn't felt anything like it in 25 years.

March 30, 1993 -- Tremor shakes buildings at Peru State College and is felt as far south as Falls City. Magnitude 2.9 quake was centered near Peru. College has some minor cracking in brick work and plaster.

Jan. 24, 1994 -- A week after a disastrous Los Angeles earthquake, a tiny tremor hit central Nebraska. The quake registered 3.3 on the Richter scale and was centered 15 miles northwest of Ainsworth. No damage was reported.

Feb. 6, 1996 -- "My daughter was on the floor and she screamed," Kendra Keck of Creighton said as she described how a magnitude 3.6 quake affected her 6-month-old daughter. The quake was centered near Yankton, S.D. The sharp jolt lasted about five seconds.

Aug. 9, 1997 -- National Weather Service reports a small earthquake at Clarkson in east-central Nebraska.

Nov. 13, 2001 -- Magnitude 3.3 quake rattles windows and dishes in southwest Nebraska. It was centered on the Nebraska-Kansas border between McCook and Oberlin, Kan.

June 20, 2002 -- Earthquake strong enough to knock items off walls is felt in central Nebraska. The magnitude 3.5 quake was centered near Greeley, 20 miles east of Ord.

Nov. 4, 2002 -- 4.3-magnitude quake hits northeast Nebraska, cracking walls, rattling windows and knocking down shelves. U.S. Ecology says it has taken earthquakes into consideration during planning for a proposed nuclear waste dump in Boyd County. The dump was never built.

May 26, 2003 -- Magnitude 4.4 quake shakes parts of western South Dakota and northwestern Nebraska. It was centered about 30 miles northeast of Pine Ridge.

July 16, 2004 -- Magnitude 3.3 earthquake is centered about 20 miles southeast of Auburn. Tremors felt from Auburn to Brownville and Nemaha and as far north as central Sarpy County.

Dec. 17, 2005 -- Magnitude 2.5 quake hits near Newport in northern Rock County.

Feb. 2, 2006 -- Magnitude 2.9 quake felt in north-central Nebraska. It was centered 30 miles east of Ainsworth.

Dec. 16, 2009 -- Magnitude 3.5 quake centered northwest of Auburn is felt throughout Southeast Nebraska.

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