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Michigan Meteor Did Not Cause Earthquake


The meteor that lit up the Michicgan sky Michigan Tuesday night struck with such force that it registered on seismic networks and led some to believe it caused an earthquake.

The U.S. Geological Survey later corrected a tweet from the National Weather Service in Detroit claiming the meteor resulted in a magnitude 2.0 earthquake.




That's not exactly true, according to Julie Dutton who is a geophysicist with the USGS.

"You can't directly compare a meteor to the size of an earthquake. The comparison is different because the source is different —one is coming from the air and one is coming from the ground," Dutton said.

"When we see the energy transfer on our instruments people think, 'Oh, it hit the ground with this force,' but that's not necessarily true. A lot of that energy is in the air. And in this case, we don't even know if it hit the ground," Dutton continued.

The National Weather Service later clarified their original statement.



Still, Dutton says that while the meteor did not cause an earthquake, it is very rare for one to register on seismic networks.

NASA reports the meteor was traveling at 28,000 miles per hour and was at least a yard across.

According to the space agency about 45 tons of "meteoritic material" fall into Earth's atmosphere every day.


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