BENTON-- Authorities say a small earthquake shook parts of southern Illinois early this morning.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the 2.7-magnitude temblor occurred shortly before 1 a.m. east and northeast of Benton. The closest town appears to be tiny 50-resident Macedonia in Franklin County.
That county's sheriff department says the earthquake doesn't appear to have caused any injuries or significant damage.
The quake is believed to have involved an extension of the New Madrid fault, a network of deep cracks in the earth's surface. In 1811 and 1812, the New Madrid fault produced a series of earthquakes estimated at magnitude 7.0 or greater said to be felt as far away as Boston. They were centered in the Missouri town of New Madrid, 140 miles southeast of St. Louis.