History of Earthquakes in Michigan

When you think of earthquakes, Michigan is typically not the first location that jumps into people’s minds. However earthquakes do happen in Michigan, and they can be strong enough to be felt across the state and even cause damage.

Michigan is no stranger to earthquakes. There have been many earthquakes felt in Michigan throughout history – there are many records of early settlers that wrote about feeling earthquakes all throughout Michigan that cracked windows, damaged chimneys, and spooked their horses, but unfortunately, there is no measure of intensity for those earthquakes.

Here is a list of the most intense recorded earthquakes in Michigan’s history. While many earthquakes that originate outside of the state can be felt in Michigan, we’ll only cover earthquakes where the epicenter is located in the state of Michigan.

2011 Grosse Pointe – Magnitude 3.0

On February 23, 2011, the residents of Grosse Pointe felt the ground shake after an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.0 was registered. No property damage was recorded and most residents did not recognize that an earthquake was occurring.

2015 Union City – Magnitude 3.3

On June 30, 2015, an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.3 was registered in Union City, Michigan. Not only was this one of the biggest earthquakes in Michigan’s history, but it came less than two months after a larger earthquake occurred less than 30 miles away.

1994 Lansing – Magnitude 3.5

On September 2, 1994, outside of Lansing in Potterville, an earthquake that registered 3.5 on the magnitude scale was recorded. The earthquake was felt as far as Jackson, MI and Grand Rapids.

1988 Wakefield – Magnitude 3.6

On January 14, 1988, an earthquake with an epicenter in Wakefield, MI registered a 3.6. This is believed to be the largest registered earthquake in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

2015 Galesburg – Magnitude 4.2

Originating in Kalamazoo county near the town of Galesburg, this is the strongest recorded earthquake in Michigan in the 21st century. On May 2, 2015, Residents across Southern Michigan felt the ground shake and objects move in their homes, however no reports of damage was recorded.

1947 Coldwater – Magnitude 4.6

This is believed to be the most intense earthquake ever recorded with an epicenter in the state of Michigan. The earthquake hit the town of Coldwater on August 10, 1947, and caused building damage in the city of Coldwater, Kalamazoo, and surrounding cities. People could feel the ground shake in cities as far away as Cadillac, MI, Cleveland, and Chicago.


Image Credit: By Martin Luff [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


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