Clintonville residents shaken once again by booms

CLINTONVILLE (AP) -- Geological officials said Wednesday they are considering putting a seismometer in a Wisconsin city where a small earthquake was recorded last week after strong booms and rumblings shook residents once again.

Clintonville police received 65 calls in just more than an hour Tuesday night from residents who experienced the booming in the community of about 4,600 people about 40 miles west of Green Bay, said city administrator Lisa Kuss.

Residents reported the most recent booming as the worst yet, Kuss said. Most of the previous calls came in from March 18 to March 20, when a 1.5-magnitude earthquake was detected by the U.S. Geological Survey. The calls had since decreased.

Jordan Pfeiler, 21, said the booms had been getting weaker so Tuesday night's big boom, followed by a smaller ones into Wednesday morning, really scared her. "People started living their lives again because they were getting little,'' she said. "After last night I don't know what people are doing.''

The U.S. Geological Survey was unable to detect anything Tuesday night and are considering putting a seismometer in Clintonville to get a better reading of potential activity, said Geophysicist John Bellini, who is in Golden, Colo.

He said he suspects it's a swarm of small earthquakes. That's because the agency has ruled out human-made causes, there was one detectable earthquake and multiple events are occurring.

While such events are unusual in Wisconsin in recent history, Bellini said it happens several times a year in different parts of the country. He said quake swarms last anywhere from a few days to a few months. He said experts know about the larger ones that are near populated areas with seismometers but they likely also happen in places without equipment or people to feel them.

"Eventually these will stop,'' he said.

At least one resident reported basement damage from last week's rumblings and that makes Pfeiler more worried because she sleeps in her basement. She has doubts on the earthquake theory since the rumblings before the March 20 quake were worse than that day, she said. "I don't know what to believe anymore,'' she said.

Bellini said the geological survey is in the middle of a project where they move about 100 seismometers across the country over a few years to get more details on seismic activity.

Currently the project is in the Midwest and the closest seismometer is about 12 miles from Clintonville. Bellini said they wouldn't have been able to find the March 20 earthquake without the project. One of those seismometers helped confirm the low wave forms on permanent seismometer.

Geologists have said earthquakes can generate seismic energy that moves through rock at thousands of miles per hour, producing what sounds like a sonic boom when the waves come to the surface.