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Navy Flight Testing Possible Cause of Sonic Boom on Jan. 29

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STAFFORD, NJ - Stafford Township and Long Beach Island residents  reported experiencing tremors, booms, and shaking earlier today, Jan. 29. These experiences have been reported all throughout southern New Jersey along the Eastern Seaboard to Long Island, New York. Social media has been blasted today by people looking for answers to what could have caused this if it wasn't an earthquake. 

The latest reports from the U.S. Geological Survey say that these tremors were caused by a sonic boom. What exactly is a sonic boom? Dictionary definition states that a sonic boom is "a loud explosive noise caused by the shock wave from an aircraft traveling faster than the speed of sound."

The United States Navy recently released information and a statement that today's flight testing may have been the cause:

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"Aircraft from Naval Test Wing Atlantic were conducting routine flight testing in the Atlantic Test Ranges this afternoon that included activities which may have resulted in sonic booms. The test wing is critical to the safe test and evaluation of all types of Navy and Marine Corps aircraft in service and in development and is primarily based out of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD. Other military aircraft, including both Navy and Air Force, also frequently use the ranges for testing and training."

The USGS reports that at least nine sonic booms have been recorded between an hour and a half time frame Thursday afternoon.

The following are recorded sonic booms by the USGS and their proximity to nearby towns:

  • 7 miles SE of Atlantic City, New Jersey
  • 9 miles ESE of Ventnor City, New Jersey
  • 13 miles ESE of Pleasantville, New Jersey
  • 14 miles E of Ocean City, New Jersey
  • 66 miles E of Dover, Delaware
  • 2 miles NNE of Hammonton, NJ
  • 8 miles SSE of Jackson, NJ
  • 11 miles East of Williamstown, NJ
  • 13 miles SE of Pine Hill, NJ
  • 37 miles S of Trenton, NJ

As more information is released, we will update this story.

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