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US Geological Survey: 1.5 Magnitude Earthquake Hit Just After Midnight in Clintonville, Wisconsin

Fri March 23 2012 12:17 am
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The Clintonville Earthquake and Mysterious Booms, Explosions and Shaking
If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck. But what if the timing of those duck-like activities just don’t seem quite right?

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that a 1.5 magnitude earthquake struck Tuesday, just after midnight in Clintonville, Wisconsin where researchers have been investigating reports of repeated booms, sounds of explosions and shaking over a period of at least 24 hours.

Clintonville City Administrator Lisa Kuss declared “the mystery is solved” at a news conference Thursday evening — explaining that USGS representatives described the event as a swarm of several small earthquakes in a very short time. However, Kuss also explained that the work of studying the incidents is not done.

“In other places in the United States, a 1.5 earthquake would not be felt,” Kluss said. “But the type of rock Wisconsin has … transmits seismic energy very well.” Wisconsin has granite rock beneath the surface of the ground. USGS Geophysicist Paul Caruso explained that the rocks underground in Wisconsin are very old and very consolidated, so they transmit the seismic energy very well.

Initially, the Clintonville Chronicle reported Clintonville City Administrator Lisa Kuss saying that a study of underground activity confirmed that there had NOT been an earthquake. Later in the week the earthquake was discovered after people reported feeling shaking, and geologists examined data — including data from local seismographs. Experts then determined that an earthquake did indeed strike. The earthquake was detected on six seismometers, including some as far as central Iowa.

Clintonville officials also investigated and ruled out several other possible explanations, such as construction, military exercises, truck traffic and underground work. The Waukesha engineering firm Rueckert & Mielke is reported to be continuing with plans to install seismology monitors in four places around Clintonville by Friday. The capture of an incident or incidents could pinpoint the epicenter of an earthquake, or could provide some details and leads to some so far unexplained event.

Some skepticism still exists among residents and experts. For example the noises, which sounded like thunder or fireworks, started Sunday night, not Tuesday — after midnight — when the earthquake was recognized (swarm times have not been detailed). Then there’s also the question by skeptics about whether some other phenomena might have mimicked the earthquake and caused the seismic action that was detected by local seismographs. The stream of noises not directly connected to the earthquake time frame, certainly has some minds still pondering the complete truth about the incidents.

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

He said, earthquakes can generate seismic energy that moves through rock at thousands of miles per hour and produces a sonic boom when the waves come to the earth’s surface.

Compare the Clintonville experience to a midwest earthquake in Illinois. On Wednesday, February 10, 2010 there was a 3.8 magnitude earthquake near Gilberts and Pingree Grove, west of Elgin. Two noises like sonic booms were heard with that earthquake as far away as Arlington Heights (about 20 miles). Multiple residents reported two shock waves that were less than one second apart, with one resident reporting the sound of chandeliers tinkling after the shock waves. Another resident described the shock waves as feeling like two very heavy, but short duration gusts of wind, with the house feeling like it took a hit from two strong crosswinds. Unlike the Clintonville experience there were no other booms or noises, except those associated with the two shock waves.

Some experts speculate the noises in Clintonville, Wisconsin could be near the surface, perhaps caused by groundwater movement or thermal expansion of underground pipes. Lower groundwater levels that are occurring could perhaps be causing some shifting and associated noise, and perhaps in combination with an earthquake, microearthquake or swarm of small earthquakes.

So it’s not just the duck test that residents have to accept. The people in Clintonville are finding themselves enduring the old causality dilemma that is commonly explained as “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”

See also …
The Cardinal — STRANGE: Mysterious Booms at Night and Day in Clintonville, Wisconsin

The Cardinal — Chicago-Area Earthquake 3.8 Magnitude — Centered Near Gilberts, Elgin, Illinois


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