What was that really loud boom just now in Santa Cruz, CA?
March 4, 2009 9:27 AM   Subscribe

I just heard a loud boom, and felt a shockwave rattle my trailer here in Santa Cruz, CA. My neighbors felt it too and were very curious. Could it have been an earthquake?

I live on campus at UCSC. The boom was at appx. 9:19 AM, March 3rd 2009.

According to google/USGS:


it wasnt an earthquake or hasn't been reported yet.

My question is:
How can I find out what made this quite loud boom and shockwave?
posted by gavtaylor to Science & Nature (20 answers total)
Is there a local newspaper with a website? That's how we found out the paint company (10 miles away) blew up in the middle of the night. Might be worth giving them a phone call.
posted by jenkinsEar at 9:30 AM on March 4, 2009

Gas line explosion anywhere?
posted by jerseygirl at 9:32 AM on March 4, 2009

Sonic boom?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:34 AM on March 4, 2009

There was a 2.0 earthquake at 8:40 AM just west of San Jose.

If you want to check for yourself: Here is the link to the USGS earthquake center map for the Santa Cruz Area.

Sometimes the quakes aren't updated for a few minutes, so you may want to check back a little later.
posted by clearly at 9:41 AM on March 4, 2009

There are several limestone quarries in the area just north of the ucsc campus - perhaps they are a-blasting.
posted by gyusan at 10:31 AM on March 4, 2009

This sounds like when space shuttles land at Edwards AFB and the sonic boom rattles my windows in LA. Not sure what might cause a sonic boom in Santa Cruz -- perhaps a fighter pilot punched the afterburners a little too close to shore during a training mission?
posted by incessant at 10:47 AM on March 4, 2009

Have you tried searching twitter? The last CA earthquake was reported faster on twitter than most news sources. Someone else may have also felt it/tweeted/included details.
posted by doorsfan at 10:49 AM on March 4, 2009

FWIW, I'm in Aptos and didn't feel anything.
posted by fenriq at 10:57 AM on March 4, 2009

Twitter search turned up a few tweets from Kathy Sierra who felt the same thing. She points to a similar event in Orange County last night.
posted by Nelson at 11:04 AM on March 4, 2009

Weird! I'm in Soquel and felt / heard the same thing. Husband did as well, came running upstairs asking if we were okay. Searched everywhere trying to figure out what it was.

Here's the Sentinel's Twitter page: http://twitter.com/scsentinel
posted by re.becca at 11:17 AM on March 4, 2009

Ahh, oops, I wasn't in Aptos yesterday morning at 9:19 am. Nevermind. I was in Watsonville though and still didn't feel anything of note.
posted by fenriq at 11:22 AM on March 4, 2009

The earthquakes I've been through haven't produced a boom so much as a low rumble, like a herd of semis rolling past. Generally, the USGS link that clearly posted is my go-to site when I've thought there was an earthquake.

Are you sure it wasn't a sonic boom? There are a number of air force bases up and down the coast. When I lived in the Central Coast it wasn't unusual to experience window-rattling booms from pilots hotdogging it a little too low, a little too fast, and a little too close to shore, coming or going from Vandenberg AFB. Maybe you got one from Travis AFB?
posted by lekvar at 12:02 PM on March 4, 2009

I experienced something similar in Tacoma about a year-and-a-half ago, which was caused my this HUGE FUCKING EXPLOSION.
posted by martens at 12:35 PM on March 4, 2009

Can it be thunder? It's been raining in your area, too, right?
posted by i8ny3x at 12:44 PM on March 4, 2009

It was most certainly a lightning strike & thunder. There were big thunderstorms rolling through the bay area yesterday. Many folks were taken by surprise, as they are quite uncommon in these parts. (We are weather wimps here.)
posted by TDIpod at 12:55 PM on March 4, 2009

The only earthquake I've ever been in felt like a herd of people slowly running up to me and then the whole place started shaking. If you've ever lived in an upstairs apartment and had the apartment shake because your neighbors run up and down the stairs too hard, it feels exactly like that when it starts. Definitely no big booms or anything that one time, but like I said, I've only been in one.
posted by Nattie at 1:04 PM on March 4, 2009

Here is a regional lighting map from Saratoga, CA-- can't comment on its accuracy. History is limited to the past 60 minutes, so event time has no data on here.

I haven't been able to find any lightning report sites that go back more than an hour. But if it happens again, you could take a look at that site.
posted by buzzv at 2:12 PM on March 4, 2009

The Sentinel is reporting a sonic boom.
posted by re.becca at 2:36 PM on March 4, 2009

The O.C. Register is also reporting it as a sonic boom.
posted by shesbookish at 3:26 PM on March 4, 2009

Just to close the loop, here's recent discussion of this event on Metafilter.
posted by Nelson at 2:51 PM on March 10, 2009

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