Blytheville Quake Upgraded to 4.0

April 30, 2003
Posted at: 1:20 a.m. CDT

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. -- No significant damage has been reported from a small earthquake that shook northeastern Arkansas shortly before midnight. That's according to a deputy with the Mississippi County sheriff's office.

A website of the U.S. Geological Survey reported a computer estimate of magnitude 3.7 for the quake that struck at 11:56 p.m. The epicenter was about a mile northwest of Blytheville, just outside the city limits.

Later Wednesday afternoon, USGS seismologists determined that the quake measured a 4.0 on the Richter Scale.

Officer Brian Lee of the sheriff's office said the only report of damage that he had heard was a woman who said the quake blew out some light bulbs. He said, however, that the sheriff's office phones had been ringing off the hook with people verifying that the shaking they felt was an earthquake.

The USGS website says damage is unlikely from an earthquake with a magnitude less than four.

Mississippi County is in the far northeastern corner of Arkansas, about 165 miles northeast of Little Rock and 60 miles north of Memphis.   The county is in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, where earthquake scientists say some of the largest quakes ever in North America struck during 1811 and 1812. Experts say a major quake could occur in the zone again.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.