U-M experts available to discuss Canadian earthquake felt in Michigan today

May 17, 2013

ANN ARBOR—Earthquakes Canada reported that a magnitude 5.2 earthquake occurred at 9:43 a.m. ET today northwest of Ottawa, Canada, and was followed 10 minutes later by an aftershock of magnitude 4.1. The initial quake was reportedly felt in southeast Michigan, including downtown Detroit. The University of Michigan has experts who can discuss the event.

Larry Ruff is a seismologist in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and director of the U-M Seismographic Observatory. Ruff said Friday morning’s quake occurred in a well-recognized seismic zone that is a consistent generator of temblors up to around magnitude 5 or so. “The distance to southeast Michigan is large, but we have seen this happen before, where even small earthquakes in eastern North America are felt at surprisingly large distances,” he said. Ruff can be reached at (810) 599-5914 or ruff@umich.edu.

Ben van der Pluijm is an earthquake geologist in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. He said even relatively small earthquakes in the eastern half of North America can be felt great distances because the seismic waves travel through solid rock that efficiently transfers the energy. “In eastern North America, the energy is easily transferred through the rock, so shaking is preserved over great distances,” he said. Van der Pluijm can be reached at (734) 678-1397 or vdpluijm@umich.edu.