Published: Thu, January 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Meteor shower likely cause of flash and noise near Detroit

Meteor shower likely cause of flash and noise near Detroit

A meteor went streaking over Windsor and Detroit Tuesday, shaking houses and knocking pictures off walls before illuminating the night sky when it exploded with the force of a 2.0 magnitude quake.

The National Weather Service says the bright light and thunder-like sound in the sky across southern MI may have been a meteor.

Cooke said the fireball was caused by a small asteroid about one to two yards in diameter, moving at 28,000 miles per hour.

It's not uncommon for non-earthquake vibrations to register on seismometers. But there were no conditions observed that would suggest it was a weather related, he said. For comparison, the very large Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded over western Russian in February 2013, causing property damage and injuries, was about 20 meters across and was moving at more than 40,000 miles per hour.

Meteors fall to Earth every so often but seldom do they enter our atmosphere with a flash of light and a massive seismic interruption.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the natural disaster was centered about five miles west-southwest of New Haven, Michigan, located about 40 miles northeast of Detroit.

Kelly Beatty, senior editor at Sky and Telescope magazine, said meteors and meteorites are a bit like seashells.

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"There's no way to translate the actual energy from an air blast into seismometers", Bellini said. "We can use them to track where the water came from, where the carbon came from, to understand our own origins".

In fact, given that the event wasn't a real quake, "I'm not sure why we even have it up there", he joked. We need his ancient astronaut theorist input.

Some residents reported their homes shaking.

"For an area like MI", he added, "it's very rare".

The event appeared to have been north in MI. Two mining explosions also shook the ground as magnitude-2.5 and a magnitude-2.7 events in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

A meteor hitting the ground is called a meteorite and only very large and extremely rare meteorites reach the Earth with enough energy to produce explosive craters. "These types of incidents happen with some frequency, the last big one was in 2013 in Russian Federation and you could buy pieces of that relatively inexpensively".

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