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Earthquake rattles western Kentucky


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(CNN) -- A 4.5-magnitude earthquake rocked western Kentucky and southern Illinois on Friday morning, unnerving some residents but causing no serious damage or injuries, officials said.

Ballard County, Kentucky, Deputy Sheriff Pat Dennis said law enforcement agencies in the area had several reports of cracked walls and fallen items.

"I was in my house," Dennis said. "It felt like it was going to come off the foundation. It went three times and I thought that was it. Some other people said their vehicles were shimmying, and another woman with a four-poster bed said the posts were vibrating."

The quake was centered near Blandville, Kentucky, about 15 miles southeast of Cairo, Illinois, and 25 miles southwest of Paducah, Kentucky.

Sheriff's deputies in Paducah said the quake was "pretty strong" there.

The western Kentucky area, between the Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi rivers, is part of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, a series of faults beneath the crust in a weak spot known as the Reelfoot Rift.

A series of earthquakes along the New Madrid Seismic Zone in 1811 and 1812 -- five of them with a magnitude of 8.0 or higher -- destroyed the town of New Madrid, Missouri, altered the Mississippi River valley landscape from Cairo to Memphis, Tennessee, and created Reelfoot Lake in the northwestern corner of Tennessee.


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