We are now entering another quiet period for our Michigan weather so I thought it would be a good time to post a bit of the earthquake history for Michigan.
Part of earth sciences study includes the study of earthquakes rumbling below the earths crust. They can be unsettling because there is little or no warning before they hit. We have nothing like the earthquakes out west along the San Andreas fault or the ring of fire in the Pacific which almost constantly moans and complains.
Here is a list of the most intense earthquakes originating in Michigan:
2011 Grosse Pointe – Magnitude 3.0
On February 23, 2011, the residents of Grosse Pointe felt the ground shake after an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.0 was registered. No property damage was recorded and most residents did not recognize that an earthquake was occurring.
2015 Union City – Magnitude 3.3
On June 30, 2015, an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.3 was registered in Union City, Michigan. Not only was this one of the biggest earthquakes in Michigan’s history, but it came less than two months after a larger earthquake occurred less than 30 miles away.
1994 Lansing – Magnitude 3.5
On September 2, 1994, outside of Lansing in Potterville, an earthquake that registered 3.5 on the magnitude scale was recorded. The earthquake was felt as far as Jackson, MI and Grand Rapids.
1988 Wakefield – Magnitude 3.6
On January 14, 1988, an earthquake with an epicenter in Wakefield, MI registered a 3.6. This is believed to be the largest registered earthquake in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
2015 Galesburg – Magnitude 4.2
Originating in Kalamazoo county near the town of Galesburg, this is the strongest recorded earthquake in Michigan in the 21st century. On May 2, 2015, Residents across Southern Michigan felt the ground shake and objects move in their homes, however no reports of damage was recorded.
1947 Coldwater – Magnitude 4.6
This is believed to be the most intense earthquake ever recorded with an epicenter in the state of Michigan. The earthquake hit the town of Coldwater on August 10, 1947, and caused building damage in the city of Coldwater, Kalamazoo, and surrounding cities. People could feel the ground shake in cities as far away as Cadillac, MI, Cleveland, and Chicago.
According to scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey, earthquakes that happen east of the Rocky Mountains can cause long-distance tremors compared to a quake of the same size out West.
Our area of North America has rocks that have been subjected to extreme pressure and temperatures. They’re also millions of years older than the rocks that formed out West, and their early fault lines have had a lot more time to heal.
All that makes our rock layers here tougher than what you’d find west of the Mississippi River, and so seismic waves produced by earthquakes travel more easily through our rocks.
The USGS tracks earthquake activity around the U.S. and the world. I will be adding a widget here to track them also.
Skywarn spotter training sessions have now been set up for SW Michigan – I am planning on attending the one at Luella Collins in Shelbyville as I have the past several years. I will post the maps next week so you know how to get there as it is hidden out in the county. I also have materials here on this site if you would like to study in the comfort of your home.