“DID YOU FEEL THAT?” Dan asked.
Since I was riding on the mower which was fashioned after a buckboard with blades (no shocks; those must have been optional) the ONLY thing I could feel was my bouncing back (among other things).
Dan had been out trying to pick up brush and cut back raspberry bushes in the campground so he was on terra FIRMA. As I stated I was on the mower which is NOT firma by any stretch of the imagination. The shrews had a field day (literally) this winter tunneling and burrowing just below the surface of the ground. I strongly feel (in every bone in my stiff and sore body) that we need to get a roller to pull behind the mower PRIOR to mowing. Any way, I digress…Dan felt the earth “move” under his feet (no, not an old 70’s hit). I thought it must be low blood pressure. He said he didn’t hear anything akin to someone using dynamite.. It was just an insignificant tremor, but enough that it got his attention. We kind of forgot about it till last night but I got to wondering about earthquakes in Michigan….not that either one of us thought there had been an earthquake yesterday. It was probably the beating of wings of a million black flies that made Dan feel like the earth moved.
I remembered my Grandma Cora telling me about an earthquake that shook her house and broke dishes. This was in southern Lower Michigan several years ago…in the Colon, Coldwater and Bronson area. Several people claimed to have felt it. So, I did a search and this is what I found (I thought it was interesting and it proves that Grandma wasn’t kidding!);
Earthquake History of Michigan
The earliest record of earthquake tremors felt in Michigan Territory (statehood came in 1837) were from the great series of shocks centered near New Madrid, Missouri in 1811 and 1812. As many as nine tremors from the New Madrid earthquake series were reported felt distinctly at Detroit.
A damaging earthquake, apparently centered between Montreal and Quebec in the Saint Lawrence Valley, occurred on October 20, 1870. This shock was felt over an area estimated to be at least a million square miles including Sault Sainte Marie.
Between 1872 and 1883 a number of moderate earthquakes were centered within Michigan. On February 6, 1872, three shocks lasting 30 seconds were reported at Wenona. No additional information is known about these tremors. Reports from Redford and Greenfield Village, not far from Detroit, indicated a minor earthquake occurred on August 17, 1877. It was noted that horses were frightened during this shock. Some persons reported hearing a noise like a train. On February 4, 1883, an earthquake cracked windows and shook buildings at Kalamazoo (intensity VI). This shock was felt in southern Michigan and northern Indiana. Cities as distant as Bloomington, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri also reported feeling this earthquake.
The destructive earthquake that hit Charleston, South Carolina on August 31, 1886, was felt as far north as Milwaukee, Wisconsin and probably in parts of Michigan. On October 31, 1895, Charleston, Missouri experienced a major earthquake. Considered the severest shock in the central U.S. region since the 1811 - 1812 earthquakes, the 1-million-square-mile felt area included parts of Michigan. A moderate earthquake of intensity V was felt at Menominee on March 13, 1905.
A series of unusual occurrences in the Keweenaw Peninsula mining area form a significant part of the seismic history of Michigan. The first disturbance was on July 26, 1905 at about 6:20 in the evening. At Calumet there occurred what appeared to be a terrific explosion. Chimneys fell with a crash and plate glass windows were broken (intensity VII). The explosion was heard far down in a mine and the shock was felt all over the Keweenaw Peninsula area and as far away as Marquette, about 70 miles southeast across Lake Superior. Ten months later, on May 26, 1906, a similar phenomenon occurred. Train rails were twisted, and there was a notable sinking of the earth above the Atlantic mine. The disturbance was reported felt over an area about 30 to 40 miles in diameter. Another shock occurred in the same region on January 22, 1909. A rumbling tremor was felt around Houghton and was believed to be caused by the crushing of pillars in a mine.
The earthquake of August 9, 1947, damaged chimneys and cracked plaster over a large area of south-central Michigan and affected a total area of about 50,000 square miles, including points north to Muskegon and Saginaw and parts of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. The cities of Athens, Bronson, Coldwater, Colon, Matteson Lake, Sherwood, and Union City in the south-central part of the State all experienced intensity VI effects. Reports of damage to chimneys and some instances of cracked or fallen plaster, broken windows, and merchandise thrown from store shelves were common over the epicentral area.
Written by Carl A. von Hake
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