|Occurred : 1/28/2016 13:23 (Entered as : 01/28/2016 13:23)
Reported: 1/29/2016 3:00:06 PM 15:00
Location: Absecon (most reports), NJ
|Analysis of "sonic booms" and shaking reported along New Jersey coast.
This is an analysis of the details of a “sonic boom” event reported along the New Jersey coast and surrounding areas. The shaking was reported to have occurred around 1:23:45 PM local time on January 28, 2016. After initial reports of ground movement came in, the USGS determined this was not an earthquake, but originating in the atmosphere. They estimated that as many as 9 sonic booms were reported, which the US Navy has since attributed to a supersonic flyover by two jets in Naval airspace, located approximately 14miles offshore.
However, when one digs deeper, this explanation doesn't adequately explain the facts. To clarify the details, I have included a diagram. The diagram is based on the USGS "Did you feel it" map of the event, which recorded eyewitness shaking reports made to the USGS. I should point out that people generally contact USGS to report an earthquake, not a loud sound. In my personal experience with several low-altitude supersonic flyovers, I have heard a sharp sound/air blast, but felt no ground movement. However, in this case, ground shaking was reported as far away as 70 miles from the Navy airspace, as shown on the map.
The effects and range of sonic booms has been carefully studied. Ground width of the boom exposure area is approximately 1 statute mile (1.6 km) for each 1,000 feet (300 m) of altitude (the width is about five times the altitude); that is, an aircraft flying supersonic at 30,000 feet (9,100 m) will create a lateral boom spread of about 30 miles (48 km). In this case, we have reports from as far away as 70 miles. So if the sonic booms were generated offshore in Naval airspace, that means the boom width is twice that, or ~140 miles. Plugging that value into the equation gives us an altitude of 140,000 feet. This is more than twice the stated operational altitude of the F-35C, and 3.5X the operational altitude of the F-18.
Therefore, I find it rather difficult to accept the official Navy explanation, as it simply does not explain all the observational data. Even at first glance, it's hard to imagine how two small aircraft could displace enough air to cause ground shaking 70 miles away! All the observational data should be considered to find a better explanation, wherever the facts may lead us.