The shaking felt throughout the Jersey Shore this afternoon was from a sonic boom, the U.S. Geological Survey confirms.
The survey reports multiple “sonic booms” three kilometers north-northeast of Hammonton early this afternoon.
From the report: “At least 9 sonic booms were recorded in the following hour and a half. Reported from southern New Jersey along the Eastern Seaboard to Long Island, New York.”
The National Weather Service adds that an agency representative contacted an expert at the Lamont Doherty Observatory at Columbia University who confirmed that the shaking, felt by tens of thousands multiple times, was not from an earthquake.
“Felt the earth move under my feet in Toms River,” reported Taneil Sharkey at 1:38 p.m. today on JSHN.
In Mystic Island, Roman Isaryk says the shaking “lasted about 10 seconds,” adding that there are reports from around the area.
(Click to see thousands of reports on JSHN.)
A sonic boom is “the sound associated with the shock waves created by an object traveling through the air faster than the speed of sound. Sonic booms generate enormous amounts of sound energy, sounding much like an explosion,” according to wikipedia.org.
Shaking reports have recently become a yearly event, with some commenting that the ubiquity of social media raises awareness.
In October 2012, a sonic boom was deemed the culprit of ground shaking felt at the Jersey Shore. In February 2014, another sonic boom rattled the same area.
In the hours after the 2014 incident, John Bellini, a geophysicist with the USGS, told NewsWorks that seismometers only detect vibrations within the ground.
“Air blasts and super sonic booms don’t get recorded,” he said. “So if it’s a sonic boom, thunder, or a transformer exploding, there’s no chance of recording it unless it occurs right near the seismometer.”
The last earthquake felt at the Jersey Shore was in August 2011.