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It Felt Like a Quake to Florida Residents. It Wasn't

USGS says there was no temblor in S. Florida on Friday—so what caused the rumbling and shaking?
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2021 6:30 AM CST

(Newser) – Earthquakes in the Golden State are common. Ones in the Sunshine State—not so much. But that's what South Florida residents thought they felt Friday, even though the US Geological Survey says it didn't register any such activity in the state, per CBS Miami. "Did anyone else feel that???" one alarmed resident posted on Twitter around 1:45pm ET. "My entire house shook for almost 10 seconds." The city of Weston, meanwhile, apparently started fielding calls from concerned locals about a possible blast of some sort. "In regard to the rumbling that people in Weston felt just earlier. There was NO explosion in #Weston," the city's Twitter account noted, adding it didn't know what had happened. WSVN reports that the shaking and rattling was felt in at least three counties: Broward, Monroe, and Miami-Dade.

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"At this point, the USGS does not know the source of the reported shaking," a rep for the agency says, noting that, because the rumblings were felt across such a wide area, its equipment would've picked up any seismic activity if it were an earthquake. She notes that what happened sounds more like a sonic boom from an aircraft breaking the sound barrier. A local meteorologist concurs, telling the Sun Sentinel it was likely a military jet offshore; he notes cloud cover in the area would've helped carry any shock wave to land. The Homestead Air Reserve Base, however, says it wasn't holding training drills on Friday. CBS notes Florida has the least number of quakes in the nation, as it's not on top of any tectonic plate boundaries. A Miami resident noted the weirdness of a year that has only just begun. "Welp, 'earthquake in Florida' is marked off the 2021 checklist!" they posted. (Read more Florida stories.)

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