In October 2010, a 360 foot long crack appeared in rural Menominee County, Michigan. Residents nearby reported hearing booming noises. Is this what's coming for Clintonville, Wisc.? Credit: Wayne Pennington, Michigan Technological University
We’ve been as fascinated as anyone else about the strange news coming out of Clintonville, Wisc. this week. Residents in the small town have been hearing mysterious booming noises in the wee hours of the morning.
It may be a stretch to consider this an economic story, but Clintonville is being flooded by out of town reporters, who must have some kind of economic impact. And at least one engineering firm is getting business from it.
Plenty of people online also speculate that “fracking” could be behind the mysterious noises. Hydraulic fracturing, the natural gas drilling method usually just called “fracking,” did play a role in a series of earthquakes near Youngstown, Ohio. The U.S. Geological Survey just confirmed that there is small seismic activity behind the Clintonville booms - tiny tremors that only measure 1.5 in magnitude. But town officials say they’ve ruled out most man-made causes for the tremors (the closest known fracking operation is about 20 miles from Clintonville).
That leaves natural causes as a possible explanation. Accuweather.com says the Midwest’s abnormally warm spring could be playing a role, as ice in the ground quickly melted and the soil suddenly settled.
But one of the biggest questions, of course, is whether these noises are something to be worried about.
Mt. Fuji, as seen from the bullet train/photo by Micki Maynard
A year ago, people in the Midwest were realizing the damage that the massive earthquake and tsunami had done to Japan. And, while the region affected by the earthquake is starting its long recovery, everyone here has learned some permanent lessons.
1) We are all connected. To borrow a phrase from the Symphony of Science, the earthquake on the coast of Japan reminded us of how closely linked everyone is on earth. The earthquake disrupted parts and vehicle production for automakers overseas and in the United States for months — and had a significant impact on the Midwest.
In the Midwest, our Niala Boodhoo found that 160,000 people in the Great Lakes states worked directly for Japanese based companies. She reported on the impact for Morning Edition.
All across the region, companies, charities and even chefs stepped forward to help people affected by the disasters in Japan, sending everything from portable toilets to gas tanks and of course, cash. At Takashi, in Chicago, an all-star team of restaurant owners from around the city stepped up to cook a meal whose proceeds benefited the American Red Cross. Continue reading
It’s been five months since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The human toll from the disaster has been well documented, along with the ongoing nuclear safety issues. And, Japan is seeing a food safety issue, as well.
As I reported back in March, the economic ties between Japan and the Midwest are strong. Governors from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota are attending the 43rd annual joint meeting of the Midwest U.S. – Japan Association in Tokyo next month, the Japan External Trade Organization reported in its most recent newsletter.
Just a few miles inland from Japan's coastline, months after the disaster (Kasper Nybo via Flickr Creative Commons)
Most recent manufacturing output data shows that the U.S. auto industry has been able to bounce back from disruptions because of the earthquake, Reuters reports.
But it’s not just the auto industry. Also in the JETRO newsletter: the story of healthcare giant Abbott Laboratories, which has its global headquarters just north of Chicago, and how it dealt with the earthquake. Continue reading