The United States Geological Survey has confirmed that a bright meteor that broke up over the Detroit area on the evening of January 16 caused a 2.0 magnitude earthquake in Michigan. The meteorite fell about five miles (8 kilometers) from the village of New Haven.
"After reviewing several observational datasets, the NWS can confirm the flash and boom was NOT thunder or lightning, but instead a likely meteor," tweeted the Detroit’s National Weather Service office, in response to social media activity regarding the 8:08 PM event. The USGS confirmation followed shortly after the NWS tweet.
NASA also speculates that fragments of the meteor may have survived their plunge through the atmosphere, and have fallen to the ground intact. The vast majority of meteors do not survive their high-speed impact with the atmosphere, vaporizing before they reach the surface.
"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," according to NASA’s Facebook page. "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."