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MYSTERY: Earthquake-like tremors reported in Maryland...

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(by Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun) -- Michael Maykrantz was on duty at a fire house on 74th street in Ocean City when the floor began to shake and the doors started to rattle.

At Bart Rader’s house in Ocean Pines, a loud boom “like somebody blew something up” preceded shaking so heavy that it rattled a 50-pound metal sculpture against the wall.

Miles away in Annapolis, Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan was meeting in state Sen. James Mathias’ office when he got a text message from his daughter: “What the heck was that?”

A series of tremors rattled residents across Ocean City and the lower Delmarva Peninsula around midday Thursday, puzzling geologists and emergency managers. Within a few hours, geologists ruled out an earthquake, and by Thursday evening, signs pointed to supersonic jets flying from the Patuxent Naval Air Station, though station officials could not confirm when the flights would have passed by Ocean City.

The phenomenon nevertheless mystified many, including Maykrantz.

“We’ve had sonic booms in town before, but this seemed different,” said the firefighter and paramedic. “It was more sustained, and then there was a pause for about a minute and then it started again.”

Ocean City police dispatchers received more than a dozen calls by noon from residents reporting a loud boom and violent shaking shortly before noon, though a police spokeswoman said she didn’t feel anything.

Most immediately thought of an earthquake, remembering the 5.8 magnitude temblor centered in Virginia on August 23, 2011, that also shook the Delmarva peninsula.

“We are hearing reports of a possible earthquake in Ocean City, MD. That is unconfirmed at this time,” the Maryland Emergency Management Agency posted on Twitter.

The Maryland Geological Survey quickly confirmed sensing the rumbling on its sensors in Reisterstown. To triangulate the source or magnitude of a possible earthquake, they conferred with seismologists in Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, said Maryland Geological Survey Director Richard Ortt.

“When the Earth moves, you get certain kinds of waves,” Ortt said.

The only earthquake on record in Ocean City occurred Oct. 15, 1928, according to the Maryland Geological Survey. Read more via The Baltimore Sun...

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