The U.S. Geological Survey did not record an earthquake in New Jersey on Monday, but plenty of people reported a rumbling in the ground.

Reports started getting logged on the website just before 1 p.m. from Ocean, Cumberland and Cape May Counties.


"A rumble in the distance and our building vibrated in an unusual way," is how one person in Rio Grande described it.

Others described "light shaking." Another said it was "complex motion, difficult to describe."

A report from Cape May Court House said, "The whole house shook and vibrated for a few seconds. The garden state parkway is at the end of my street I thought perhaps a large truck until it happened the second time."

In South Seaville, a resident reported their house "had a violent shake for 3-seconds and then again 5 minutes later, again for 3 seconds."


So what Was it?

There were multiple reports of windows rattling "like a sonic boom or explosion" or "like a plane flew low."

Military activity is a possibility. Jets flying from the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland have been known to fly off the Jersey Shore and cause sonic booms.

Live round artillery training at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst have also been known to cause the ground to shake.

However, the military has not commented on whether this was the cause.

Conspiracy theorists have speculated this is all related to some national phenomenon that has the ground shaking, flashes of light and loud booms. To date, there is no evidence to support any link between any of these reports.

Earthquakes are not particularly unusual in New Jersey. They do happen.

There have been over a dozen officially recorded by the USGS since 1979.

The biggest recent quake was in 2020. A 3.1 magnitude trembler struck near Freehold. In 2015, a 2.5 magnitude quake was recorded.

A Fault Line In New Jersey

There is a fault line that runs through the northwestern part of New Jersey. A fault line is where the Earth's tectonic plates meet. When they move, they produce an earthquake.


The Ramapo fault line stretches more than 185 miles from Pennsylvania, through New Jersey and into New York State near the Indian Point nuclear power plant.

This fault zone is not believed to be any more active than any other in the United States, but has produced several small earthquakes over the years.

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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