Earthquake gives Boone County residents something to talk about

Friday, April 25, 2008 | 5:00 p.m. CDT; updated 3:23 p.m. CDT, Sunday, September 7, 2008
Jake Sherlock is a news editor at the Columbia Missourian.

Did you enjoy your 4:37 a.m. wake-up call last Friday? Did you even feel it?

A 5.2-magnitude trembler that hit near West Salem, Ill., was felt several hundred miles away, including here in Columbia, some 276 miles from the epicenter.

By 6:15 a.m., the first report was up on There wasn’t much: The Associated Press had the essential what, where and when, and more details were promised. Understandably, there was no mention from AP how the quake had affected those of us in Boone County. That’s the Missourian’s job.

At the time, I was still at home in my pajamas, posting the AP story to It was a little early to start calling residents and asking them if they had felt the quake. If I waited until 9 a.m. to start calling, the story would already be old — residents were already sharing anecdotes with Tom Bradley on The Eagle 93.9.

Along with the initial report, I asked readers to share their tales by either leaving a comment on the Missourian Web site or sending an e-mail. I then took a quick shower and rushed down to the office.

By the time I got there, fellow Missourian editor John Schneller was making calls to see if any damage or injuries had been reported. That left me free to see what readers like you thought about the event. Here’s a sampling of what they were saying:




  • “I woke up last night and had no clue what was going on. ... When I woke up this morning I couldn’t figure out if it was a dream or not,” MU student Erin Power said in an e-mail. “I’ve called people all morning trying to see if anyone else woke up and no one believes me. There really was an earthquake, right?”


  • “I was awake before the quake and was reading in bed,” Mona Cenatiempo said in an e-mail. “At 4:38 a.m. my bed began to move around on the ‘old’ hardwood floors. The wood was snapping, not loudly, but enough that I knew it was a quake. I couldn’t wait to get up and check the news to confirm what I felt.”


  • “I was awake at the time this happened but I thought it was some rolling thunder. Once the rumble lasted more than any other thunder clap had before I thought maybe there was a jet aircraft in the area,” said Robert Barnhart, who lives near the Lake of the Woods, in a comment posted at “Nothing shook or rattled and I did not feel any vibrations; guess this 13-year-old apartment is more solid than I give it credit.”



There are several more comments to read, which you can find here.

By 11 a.m., the Missourian had a robust report — the magnitude had been changed to 5.2 from 5.4, there was minimal damage across the region, and a 4.5-magnitude aftershock had also hit the region.

Locally, our town had something to talk about, but thankfully no damages to clean up or injuries to nurse. That anecdotal evidence came from readers like you who were willing to share their stories. A big thanks to those who contributed to the conversation.



Speaking of conversations, our special section on “Who We Are” comes out today online and in the Weekend Missourian. The Missourian’s data team spent weeks crunching census numbers to provide a snapshot of who we are as a community. We hope that you will let us know what you think of it. Please drop us a line at, or leave a comment on the Web site.

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