Small earthquake reveals fault in southeast Kalamazoo County

A geological fault line has been revealed in southeast Kalamazoo County following a small earthquake in the area over the weekend.

Kazuya Fujita, a geosciences professor at Michigan State University, wrote a paper 20 years ago suggesting the existence of the geological fault line. According to Fujita, it appears the fault that caused the 4.2-magintude temblor Saturday is part of the same fault involved in a 1947 quake in Coldwater.

“I always thought there was something there because of variations in the magnetic field,” Fujita said about southeast Kalamazoo County. “When I heard the quake was in Kalamazoo, I figured it was probably that fault.”

The fault involved in the May 2 quake “matches almost perfectly” with Fujita’s theory, based on data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey, said Chris Schmidt, a geoscientist for Western Michigan University.

The epicenter of Saturday’s earthquake was in Scotts, a rural farming community about 12 miles southeast of Kalamazoo.

“It looks like the fault goes between Coldwater and Kalamazoo,” Schmidt said. “If it goes north of that, we don’t know, and we’re not sure if goes further south.”

Although some have suggested hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was the culprit, both scientists told the Kalamazoo Gazette that the quake was the result of natural forces.

“This isn’t a man-made quake,” Schmidt said. “It’s an old fault under strain. There’s periodic build up and release. It’s like stretching a rubber band, where it eventually snaps.”

The earthquake also was felt in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin and southern Ontario.  (AP)

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