People across New Jersey and parts of New York and Connecticut have felt earthquake-like shaking as the result of sonic booms that were caused by the testing of a new fighter jet, officials say. There have been no reports of major damage.
The reports began coming out just after 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, with shaking felt in Atlantic City, Trenton, Forked River, Tinton Falls, Southampton, Pleasantville, Mt. Holly, and other areas. The shaking was also felt as far away as New York’s Long Island and Connecticut, prompting some people to evacuate out onto the streets in fear of an earthquake.
Seismologists from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the tremors were believed to have been caused by at least 10 sonic booms that were recorded over the course of 1.5 hour. The first one was recorded in the vicinity of Hammonton, about 37 miles south of Trenton.
It remained unclear for more than 3 hours who was responsible for the sonic booms, with military officials initially denying that military planes capable of causing sonic booms were present in the area. Officials later acknowledged that the booms were caused by two F-35C stealth fighter jets, which are undergoing tests off the coast of New Jersey. Both aircraft were flying from Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.
The tremors were also felt in the Township of Hamilton, and police there said they were receiving “numerous calls” from citizens, though only minor damage has been reported. Police departments in other towns were also overwhelmed with calls, prompting some departments to put out messages in which residents were urged not to call 911 about the sonic booms.
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