Earthquakes in the U.S. most frequently occur on the nation’s west coast. More specifically, they take place in regions surrounding the San Andreas fault line. However, reports of shaking and rumbling ground in New Jersey on Monday have scientists stumped as they try to determine whether or not areas across the state actually experienced an earthquake.
NJ.com reports that mysterious rumblings and vibrations were felt across southern NJ Monday afternoon. These areas include Cape May, Cumberland, and Ocean Counties. While residents of the Garden State flocked to social media to share their accounts of the rumblings. However, the news outlet states scientists did not detect any seismic activity. Still, plenty of people reported houses shaking and windows rattling.
Further, since the trembling occurred yesterday, there have been no confirmed reports of earthquakes or sonic booms. So what’s got NJ all shook up?
Nine people shared reports of the mysterious rumbling to the website volcanodiscovery.com. The website described the strange incident as an as-yet “unconfirmed earthquake or seismic-like event.” The shaking took place at 12:46 p.m. local time on the ground southeast of South Vineland in Cumberland County.
New Jersey residents described the shaking in different ways. One person from Rio Grande said they felt, “A rumble in the distance,” recalling that, “our building vibrated in an unusual way.”
Another person said they experienced a “light shaking,” while a third said it was a “complex motion, difficult to describe.”
Despite a multitude of reports though, the U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors seismic activity—such as the eruption of Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii—insists that nothing was detected “earthquake-wise.” Further, the National Weather Service did not receive any reports of loud booms or shaking ground on Monday, December 5th.
Experts Left to Determine Actual Cause of Shaking Ground in NJ a Day Later
Interestingly, as unusual as the Monday shaking seems, this is not the first time the ground has rumbled in NJ without evidence of seismic activity. Back in February, residents reported shaking and hearing loud booms in various regions across the south and central areas of the state. Though experts investigated the reports, a source of the rumbling was never found.
Now, as New Jerseyans continue to wonder what they experienced on Monday, seismologists are left to see whether or not they can determine the cause of the trembling this time.
Meanwhile, meteorologists have said in the past that these rumblings could be the result of sonic booms. They’ve explained that military jets flying off the Jersey Shore from the naval air station in Maryland could definitely cause significant shaking and tremors.
That said, Naval Air Station Patuxent River has not yet responded to the outlet with comment. In addition, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst representatives withheld comment. With little acknowledgment from these bases, we have to wonder whether the shaking was really human-caused.