Meteor Explodes Over Night Sky in Michigan Causing Earthquake

In a scene that looked as much like the cover of Stranger Things — or a scene of Independence Day — a meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere, exploded and made contact with the surface of the planet, causing a registered earthquake.
Michigan Meteor
(Photo: Facebook)

The US Geological Survey confirmed the magnitude 2.0 earthquake had an epicenter just north of New Haven, Michigan (roughly 40 miles north of Detroit) after the meteor entered and struck the Earth.

NASA Media Watch was also quick to confirm the event, saying on its website that the object traveled from Brighton to Howell — citing the American Meteor Society website — before making landfall.

"Our analysis yields a similar result, and we have calculated that this was a very slow moving meteor — speed of about 28,000 miles per hour," the post read. "This fact, combined with the brightness of the meteor (which suggests a fairly big space rock at least a yard across), shows that the object penetrated deep into the atmosphere before it broke apart (which produced the sounds heard by many observers). It is likely that there are meteorites on the ground near this region — one of our colleagues has found a Doppler weather radar signature characteristic of meteoritic material falling to earth."

My WiFi camera finally caught something cool #metrodetroitmeteor

A post shared by Chris Laine (@topherlaine) on

NASA Media Watch is a group of NASA researchers along with amateur meteor watchers and the public which allows the group to share information about meteors.

Videos and images posted across social media showed a bright spot streaking across the sky, before exploding and then illuminating the dark evening with a red light. Those who posted the images said the the light came just before several loud booms which trailed the blaze by a minute or two.

NASA officials are currently analyzing the data but reports from the organizations Meteoroid Environmental Office in Alabama told The Detroit News.

"It was a huge event," Bill Cooke told the paper. "It is definitely a meteoroid."

Cooke estimated the object to have been about six to nine feet across, weighing more than a ton, and having traveled between 40,000 to 50,000 miles to get to Earth.

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He added that while NASA is collecting and examining the data, the happening is more unusual for its being over Michigan than for it happening at all.

"Over Michigan, they're rare," he said. But elsewhere on the planet, "they happen a few times every month."