Mystery Sonic Boom Shook the Earth in South Jersey… From Where?
BOULDER. Colorado — A sonic boom the shaking and noise in South Jersey on Wednesday — but the exact origin remains a mystery, officials said.
Reports from Wildwood to Cherry Hill all described a shaking of the ground and a loud noise around 10:20 a.m..
"Here in Mount Laurel we had a few strange sounds and rumbles," Mary Twomey said in an email. "At first, it sounded like something in the attic then it sounded like a tree landed on house or Santa's sleigh came early. It was a true bang on the roof. I even thought maybe a flock of geese landed at once on roof. I went to the front of house to see if a truck went by but no movement. Then there was a rumble/tremor smaller than the initial noisy event."
Donna Ford felt the shaking in Marlton and wrote that it sounded like a huge truck grunting and groaning for about 45 seconds.
The shaking may not have been limited to South Jersey. Alexa Foster said she felt it in Flemington.
"I thought a truck hit my house or something. But nothing! I didn't hear anything so I knew it wasn't construction. I texted my husband saying I thought we just had a small earthquake," Foster said.
USGS geophysicist Amy Vaughn confirmed to the Townsquare News Network the sonic boom was caused by an aircraft.
"The was some indication there was indeed some sort of aircraft in that direction especially given the lineation of the report. There's no magnitude. It's difficult to 'locate' that because it's not truly a seismic event," A USGS map approximated the sonic boom as being southeast of Cape May.
She said it was definitively a sonic book — but no aircraft has claimed responsibility for the event.
"We've seen this many times before specially along the coat," she said.
Spokeswoman Lt. Liza Dougherty said the Navy reviewed its records and determined it was not a Navy jet.
"We talked to our installations, we talked to headquarters for naval aircraft as well and we were able to determine no activity had taken place in the area (off New Jersey) on Wednesday morning.
Patrick Gordon, public affairs officer from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, said there were no planes in the air from his base in eastern Maryland on Wednesday.
An incident in January 2016 in which a series of tremors was felt around South Jersey turned out to be caused by “routine flight testing” in the Atlantic Test Ranges, which span from New Jersey to North Carolina. The plane originated at Patuxnet.
A spokesman for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst also they were not responsible.
The Air Force Public Affairs Office has not yet returned messages.