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USGS reports quake near Wisconsin city plagued by booming sounds

People turn out to get their questions answered at a meeting with city officials about the mysterious booming and rumbling in Clintonville, Wis., Wednesday, March 21, 2012.

A minor earthquake occurred this week near the eastern Wisconsin city where researchers have been investigating a series of unexplained booming sounds, federal geologists said Thursday.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 1.5-magnitude earthquake struck Tuesday just after midnight in Clintonville, a town of about 4,600 people about 40 miles west of Green Bay.

Geophysicist Paul Caruso told The Associated Press that loud booming noises have been known to accompany earthquakes. It’s possible the mysterious sounds that town officials have been investigating are linked to the quake, he said.

Earthquakes can generate seismic energy that moves through rock at thousands of miles per hour, producing a sonic boom when the waves come to the surface, Caruso said.

“To be honest, I’m skeptical that there’d be a sound report associated with such a small earthquake, but it’s possible,” he said.

Those reservations didn’t stop Clintonville City Administrator Lisa Kuss from declaring “the mystery is solved” at a news conference Thursday evening.

She said USGS representatives described the event as a swarm of several small earthquakes in a very short time.

“In other places in the United States, a 1.5 earthquake would not be felt,” she said. “But the type of rock Wisconsin has transmits seismic energy very well.”

The U.S. Geological Survey says earthquakes with magnitude of 2.0 or less aren’t commonly felt by people and are generally recorded only on local seismographs. Caruso said the Tuesday earthquake was discovered after people reported feeling something, and geologists pored through their data to determine that an earthquake did indeed strike.

Local residents have reported late-night disturbances since Sunday, including a shaking ground and loud booms that sound like thunder or fireworks.

City officials investigated and ruled out a number of human-related explanations, such as construction, traffic, military exercises and underground work.

Clintonville resident Jordan Pfeiler, 21, said she doubted an earthquake caused the noises. She said the booms she experienced were in a series over the course of several hours and not continuous as she might have expected if they were caused by an earthquake.

Still, she said, “It’s a little scary knowing Clintonville could even have earthquakes.”

Steve Dutch, a geologist at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, said a 1.5 magnitude earthquake produces the energy equivalent of 100 pounds of explosives and could produce loud sounds.

…(Washington Post)

March 23, 2012 Posted by | Seismic | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Earthquake Rattles the Entire Dominican Republic

A moderate tremor of 5.3 magnitude has rattled the entire Dominican Republic, at around 5:32am local time, whose epicenter was located 17 kilometers south-southeast of the city of San Jose de Ocoa, at a depth of 10 kilometers. The tremor shook doors and windows for around 30 seconds, startling people to scurry out of bed. Emergency Operations Center director Juan M. Mendez said there are no reports of damages or injuries thus far, although cracks in structures have been reported in the country’s south region.

Jose Mateo, on the phone from the town of Fundacion, in the southern city of Bani, said his house under construction “has some cracks,” with no major damages.

The geologist Osiris de Leon said since the tremor’s epicenter was inland, no tsunami warnings were issued. Interviewed by the program El Dia on Channel 11, the expert said the tremor was also felt in Haiti, where a 7.5 magnitude earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010.

…(Dominican Today) (USGS)

January 6, 2012 Posted by | Seismic | , , , , | Leave a comment