According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), a 4.0 magnitude earthquake shook areas in Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee and Kentucky before dawn Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012.
The quake, which struck just before 4:00 a.m. CST, was felt as far away as St. Louis.
The quake center was 16 miles southwest of Cairo, Ill., and 122 miles north-northeast of Memphis, Tenn.
The soil composition in the region likely magnified the effect of the quake somewhat, causing it to be felt over a broad area, and added to the shaking. However, no major damage has been reported, according to the Associated Press and other sources.
Quakes of this magnitude can cause cracks in walls and foundations and knock items off shelves and pictures off walls.
The shallow quake (depth 3.1 miles) early today occurred in the New Madrid Seismic Zone in the mid-Mississippi Valley Rift and was centered near East Prairie, Mo.
The area has a history of much stronger earthquakes. Violent quakes occurred in the New Madrid region 200 years ago during 1811 and 1812 with magnitudes ranging from 7.0 to 8.1. These quakes and others before them altered the course of the Mississippi River.
Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews contributed to the content of this story.
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
A major snowstorm has already caused travel disruptions across the Northeast.
During March and early April, the probability of a widespread heavy snowstorm diminishes dramatically, but snowfall impacts can be more intense in localized areas.
The recent surge in tropical activity around Australia is showing no signs of coming to an end as yet another cyclone is expected to develop this week.
A new storm, an Alberta Clipper, will spread a swath of heavy snow across parts of the northern Plains and Midwest to end the week, before making an eastward turn over part of the mid-Atlantic region this weekend.
Severe thunderstorms spawned damaging tornadoes in parts of the Southeast on Monday night in one of the biggest severe weather outbreaks of the early season.
Tropical Cyclone Eliakim has claimed the lives of at least 17 people in Madagascar as the storm produced flooding and mudslides.
A second round of cold air from the “Beast from the East” sent temperatures tumbling below freezing across much of Germany over the weekend and little relief is expected through midweek.
Residents and those on vacation from Florida to coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina should be on alert for severe weather on Tuesday.