COULD IT HAPPEN HERE?

Earthquakes in Minnesota are rare -- but they do happen.

The largest earthquake recorded in Minnesota struck in 1975. This quake, with a magnitude of 4.6, caused minor damage to building foundations in Stevens County near Morris, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

A more severe quake struck Staples, Minn., in 1917. The magnitude was less than the Morris quake, but it caused more damage, probably because the quake was closer to the surface, said Val Chandler, a geophysicist with the Minnesota Geological Survey at the University of Minnesota. "It broke windows, threw some items off shelves," he said.

And in 1909, 1968 and 1987, quakes in the same region as Friday's earthquake were strong enough to be felt in Minnesota, but not strong enough to cause any damage.

The most recent Minnesota quake was in 1994, centered near Granite Falls, with a magnitude of 3.1.

That was 14 years ago. Are we due?

"I wouldn't be surprised," Chandler said. "Every 10 to 20 years we might have one [of magnitude] 4 or bigger." But because earthquakes happen so seldom here, he said, they're harder to predict. "It could be tomorrow or several years from now."

CASEY COMMON