By Bruce Olson
ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - Missouri suffered a small earthquake Tuesday that caused no deaths or injuries, a relatively minor blow for a state hit by a series of natural disasters this spring including tornadoes, floods, soaring temperatures, and even cicadas.
The quake struck about 50 miles southwest of St. Louis at 3:10 a.m. central time, registering 4.2 intensity and causing no injuries or damage, authorities said. The U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado said the city closest to the quake was Richwoods, Missouri, six miles northeast of the epicenter.
In nearby Sullivan, resident Darren Hildebrand told local television that he woke up when the quake hit. "It felt like a truck hit the house." he said, but reported no damage or injuries.
The Missouri region is part of the New Madrid seismic zone where three large quakes registering 7.5 to 7.7 in intensity struck December 16, 1811, January 23, 1812 and February 7, 1812, according to the Geological Survey. Contemporary accounts said the quakes were felt as far away as Washington, D.C.
Since then there have been smaller quakes, including a 6.6-magnitude quake in 1895 and a 5.4-magnitude quake in 1968.
The fault runs along the Mississippi River from Memphis to St. Louis.
Missouri's trouble with things natural has stretched through the spring, with the worst disaster in Joplin, where 141 people died in a May 22 tornado, the deadliest single tornado in the United States since 1947.
In April, a tornado hit St. Louis, destroying up to 100 homes and damaging the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and causing its temporary closure. Injuries were reported, but no deaths.
The city is now struggling with a blazing heat wave that drove the temperature to a record 97 degrees on Monday.
By Tuesday 43 cooling centers were open in the St. Louis area to help residents beat the heat. Since Saturday emergency workers have responded to 12 heat-related cases, the St. Louis Department of Health reported.
And if that were not enough, the area is suffering through an infestation of cicadas, which are back in the area as part of the insect's 13-year mating cycle, making lots of noise, fouling pools and making any outdoor picnic an adventure. The bugs are harmless and should be gone in another two weeks.
(Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Greg McCune)