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‘Big boom’ caused by meteor, police confirm

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published January 16, 2018

Social media was abuzz the night of Jan. 16 as people in metro Detroit tried to figure out what exactly happened when a large “boom” was heard, accompanied by mysterious lights in the sky.

While some people thought a house might’ve exploded, and others speculated that it was something more threatening, like perhaps a missile, Lt. Mike Shaw of the Michigan State Police confirmed that the incident was the work of a meteor.

“We’re getting reports all the way from Lansing to Chicago,” said Shaw of the bright light seen streaking through the sky just after 8 p.m. “It seems the meteor broke up in the atmosphere.”

The U.S. Geological Survey's equipment registered a 2.0-magnitude earthquake about 8 kilometers southwest of New Haven. It’s believed that that’s where the meteor might have struck the ground, and remnants of it may be found in the surrounding areas, like Mount Clemens.

Rich Pollman, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Detroit/Pontiac branch, said observational datasets are able to confirm that no lightning or thunder were to blame for the event, but he referred press to NASA for more details on the astronomical activity.

NASA representatives weren’t immediately available for comment..

Rachel Klaus, of Royal Oak, said she thought the noise was someone driving into her house.

“I had just walked into the bathroom when I heard the boom and felt the floor rattling,” she described. “I went running out to make sure the kids and hubby were OK, and he was dashing out the front door to see what was going on. All the neighbors were standing out in the snow, trying to figure out what it was.”

Jen Ziemann, of Clawson, said she saw the light from her child’s room.

“I was reading my son a story when I saw a strange light hue glow from his bedroom window,” she said. “I didn’t think anything of it at first and figured it must have been a salt truck. (Then) there was a large boom sound, and our whole house shook. It caused the dogs to bark. I ran to the window, thinking maybe it was a salt truck and that it had hit a parked car but I saw nothing. My next thought was it must have been another gas main explosion.”