WSW: Earthquake Provides Opportunity for Research
On May 2nd, something unusual happened in Michigan, there was an earthquake. While that may sound scary in a region where seismic activity is rare, Western Michigan University Geosciences Professor David Barnes says it's also an opportunity for study.
Barnes says scientists can learn more specific information about the geology and faults underneath Michigan. That may lead to knowledge about oil and gas deposits below the surface. The May 2nd earthquake had its epicenter in Michigan near Galesburg. It was the second strongest ever recorded in the state.
Earthquakes remain rare in Michigan. Barnes says when there is seismic activity in the state, it is not expected that there would be any severe damage. He says the geologic forces needed for a large-scale earthquake don't exist underneath the surface in Michigan.
There is evidence that hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" has caused earthquakes in other areas. But Barnes says the science indicates that the May 2nd earthquake was not caused by any human activity. He says the "fracking" activity in Michigan has mostly been north of the epicenter of the earthquake. Barnes says there has been no injection of fluid near the area. He says there have recently been some wells drilled in that area, but they are only 4,000 feet deep. Barnes says the earthquake happened about 20,000 feet below the surface.