Earthquake Shakes Southeast Nebraska

It's not everyday an earthquake rattles Nebraska, but it happened Wednesday night in southeast Nebraska.

According the the U.S. Geological Survey, a 3.5 magnitude earthquake hit at 8:53 p.m. Wednesday. It was reportedly centered two miles north-northwest of Auburn.

Laura Wenzle from Elk Creek says her parents who live in Steinauer said it sounded just like a helicopter.

"We were sitting in our living room here in Elk Creek, Nebraska, and we heard a big rumble and we didn't know what was happening and all of our plates on our wall, we've got collectors plates, they started shaking. And it was just kind of like a big wave went through the house and, I don't know, it's kind of hard to describe. But it gave me goosebumps, and I still have goosebumps from it," said Wenzle.

This is not the first earthquake reported in Nebraska. Ray Burchett, former emeritus professor at UNL and author of "Earthquakes in Nebraska" says there's been about 50 earthquakes in Nebraska dating back to 1865.

"The largest earthquake that we have had in Nebraska is about 5.1 magnitude; usually it's felt by about everybody. It will wake up a lot of people, dishes are broken, some windows can be broken and unstable objects are overturned. We have only had three of those (magnitude 5 earthquakes) that have occurred in Nebraska: one in 1877 up in the northeastern part of Seward County near Garland, and then in 1935 there was one in Tecumseh and then in 1964 up in Cherry County near the town of Merriman. They did not cause any loss of life or anything and not much damage, but they were certainly felt from a long ways away," said Burchett.

"Earthquakes are a weakness in the earth's crust. There is a Humboldt fault zone that runs practically north and south starting down around the town of Humboldt then running south into Kansas then running to the northeast corner of Omaha," said Burchett.

10/11 has received several comments about flashes seen in the sky Wednesday night and a possible meteor at the same time of the earthquake. Nemaha County Emergency Management has confirmed reports of a possible meteor Wednesday night. The USGS says it is nearly impossible for a meteor to cause an earthquake. The two incidents are simply coincidental and there has been no confirmation of a meteor strike.