Why does this keep happening? Ground shakes, again, in South Jersey
😮 Dozens of reports of ground shaking in South Jersey
😮 This was the second time in a month residents were jolted
😮 It wasn't an earthquake. What was it?
From Atlantic City to Cape May, South Jersey residents again reported hearing a loud boom and feeling the ground move under their feet.
This is the second time in a month this has happened. Again, the U.S. Geological Service says this was not an earthquake.
So what was it?
Dozens of reports were logged on the website VolcanoDiscovery.com, starting around 11 a.m. Thursday, and continuing for the next two hours.
A resident in Marmora called it very alarming, "My French doors began shaking heavily as the bottom of the doors began to shake even harder and every hanging picture or mirror shook back and forth against the wall rattling hitting the walls."
A person working from home in Rio Grande wrote, "Felt like the ground was shaking a bit beneath me. The house shook a little bit like when big trucks go by or strong winds are in effect, and the doors shook audibly."
The most likely explanation is training by U.S. military pilots conducting exercises a few miles off the New Jersey coastline.
A Linwood resident described what sounded like a wave from a sonic boom, "I initially felt an impact hit the house followed by continuous shaking that had a rolling motion involved with it."
Others were not quite so sure. A report from Villas said, "Was a completely different shaking than a sonic boom causes and completely different sound."
There were no thunderstorms in the area at the time of the shaking, so weather could likely be ruled out.
Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland did issue a noise warning for Thursday.
A notice posted on Facebook reads, “Pilots at NAS Patuxent River will be conducting Field Carrier Landing Practices (FCLPs). FCLPs are simulated carrier landings conducted to prepare the pilot to land safely on an aircraft carrier. The practices consist of series of touch-and-go maneuvers, called ‘bounces.’ Residents may notice increased noise levels due to these operations.”
It's happened before
A similar mystery was reported in parts of South Jersey on Dec. 5, 2022, near Vineland in Atlantic County.
Dozens of residents reported hearing a loud noise and the ground shaking for several seconds. The USGS said it wasn't an earthquake.
Military aircraft were flying about three miles off the Atlantic Coast, and the U.S. Navy confirmed some of those aircraft were traveling at super-sonic speeds.
Sonic booms can be created when an aircraft breaches the sound barrier.
While this latest rumbling can likely be explained by military maneuvers, what caused the ground to shake in North Jersey earlier this month remains a mystery.
From Bergen to Sussex County, it was basically described as the same thing: A loud boom or bang followed by a rumble and the ground shaking. The only thing we know for sure in that incident, was that it was not an earthquake.
New Jersey does have earthquakes.
There have been over a dozen earthquakes 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.
The Ramapo Fault Line stretches for 185 miles from Pennsylvania through New Jersey and into New York State.
Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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