On the wee and dark hours of Monday morning, residents felt what some described as “earthquake” or “sonic boom” rattling and shaking their homes for a few disquieting seconds. The surprise event was felt and heard particularly around south of Saipan and near the airport, but as of press time yesterday it’s still unclear what caused the disturbance.
The administration of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres is looking into the matter.
Torres said yesterday there was “no earthquake.” The U.S. Geological Survey website was also bereft of any details of seismic activity. Its earthquake map did not report any seismic activity near the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas during the time a “quake” or “shaking of the ground” was reported by some residents around 1:30am yesterday.
“We were not flying in the CNMI training ranges last night,” Lt. Tim Gorman, public affairs office of Joint Region Marianas, also said yesterday.
When asked about the disturbance yesterday, Torres said there was “no earthquake,” and that he would be working with his staff to ask neighboring island of Guam “what is going on.”
Torres confirmed that about three weeks ago the Joint Region Marianas told him that a disturbance—that many believed an earthquake—was actually a sonic boom resulting from U.S. military training in the area.
“We had one or two last night and we had one last week Thursday. It just seems like there has been too many in just a short time without any justification as to what is going on,” Torres said, indicating his belief that this was due to U.S. military training.
“…To my understanding,” Torres said, “they were supposed to give us an update on what’s going on so that we too can give a community an alert, an awareness that something is going on.”
Torres, who lives in Koblerville, said he felt the vibration and said it lasted a “couple of seconds” and was “pretty strong.”
Residents in the As Lito area also felt the vibration rattling the air and objects in their rooms on Monday morning.
Last week Saturday, USGS recorded magnitude 5 quake centered at 83.3 miles east northeast of Anatahan or 127.4 miles northeast of Saipan. Another magnitude 4.9 quake was also recorded 45.4 miles south southwest of Hagatna, Guam.