via Wikimedia Commons
On Tuesday, January 16th, there was a strange light that was spotted and reported in Detroit, Michigan. Many citizens have recorded footage of the possible meteor and posted the videos all over social media. Many spectators were frightened at the sight of the flashes in the sky. One person in Detroit reported that their dog started freaking out and barking after hearing a loud boom. “…[I] heard a boom and I kind of thought I felt something … and my dog freaked out.” Another person who reported this occurrence, Claire Ceresnie, said that she saw a flash from her house. “I saw a big flash in the northwestern sky above my house,” she wrote on Facebook. According to USA Today, many residents reported that they felt their houses shaking. The Geological service calculated the shaking as a 2.0 earthquake on the Richter Scale. –
Fortunately, according to NEWZZCAFE from YouTube, there were no signs of damage in Detroit. Some thought that the lights and quaking were because of a meteor, while others believed that it was possibly thunder and lightning. NWS Detroit tweeted that the light and boom was not, in fact, thunder and lightning, but most likely a 2-yard-diameter meteor. The service company helps prove the claim that it was certainly a meteor rather than lightning (and thunder). Another interesting part of the situation is that the meteor was considered slow due to the fact that it was traveling at a speed of 28 thousand miles per hour. In comparison, the average speed of a Leonid meteor is about 16,000 mph (though they are much smaller).
According to the Washington Post, the meteor entered the atmosphere two minutes shy of 8:10 p.m. Similar to the USA Today, the author of the website explains that the Richter Scale recorded about a 2.0 sized earthquake. An employee from NASA, Bill Cooke, told Newscasters that he is certain that it is a meteor. “It was definitely a meteor,” he says.
The same website also describes that the meteor broke apart when it was very far below the atmosphere. Fortunately for the citizens, the meteor itself exploded before it hit the crust of the earth. Another unique part of this situation is that the meteor is considered “rare” because the rate of meteors that cause the magnitude are approximately ten per year.
To summarize, the people who witnessed this were really lucky, since it is rare in occurrence. Even the most occurring asteroids or meteors make earthquakes that are weaker than a 2.0 magnitude.