Could Massive Earthquake Hit Mid-Michigan? 3-14-2011 - WNEM TV 5

Could Massive Earthquake Hit Mid-Michigan? 3-14-2011

Last week’s devastating earthquake in Japan may have many of you feeling relieved that we live in an area where we see little earthquake activity.
Martin Arford, an associate professor of geography at Saginaw Valley State University, told TV5 meteorologist Catherine Bodak the chances of a destructive earthquake like the one in Japan is unlikely.
“[Its] really unlikely here,” Arford said. “Most of the major earthquakes of the world happen on the edge of tectonic plates, where you have major movement. We don't have any kind of those big plate movements in the middle of the United States.”
Earthquakes in Michigan are relatively uncommon, but not unheard of. In fact, the last one felt in Mid-Michigan happened last June.
“The one on the Ontario/Quebec border was about a 5.0 magnitude,” said Arford. “That was felt here in Mid-Michigan, but many people didn't even know that it happened.”
Arford went on to explain that the earthquakes we do see are caused by minor adjustments from rock layers. Some of that movement is due to the last glacial period when there were thousands of tons of ice piled up on top of the land. Arford said now that the ice is gone, the earth will tend to shift around.
“Even though the ice has been gone for 10,000 years of more, the earth is still slowly lifting back up. So that isostatic rebound, or adjustment, is still occurring and that does lead to occasional earthquakes,” Arford said.
So, although some minor tremors can occur time to time, the Mid-Michigan region is in one of the calmest areas of the continent.
“I don't think people have to worry too much about a big earthquake happening here,” Arford said.
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