You save money all your life or you hit it big in bitcoin or you win the lottery – so what do you do next? You move to paradise. And then what happens? If you’re Joni Mitchell, you wake up one morning to find “They paved paradise, put up a parking lot (Big Yellow Taxi). If your paradise happens to be San Diego, right now you might be wishing for concrete – or at least some concrete answers – as to why your little corner of heaven is being rattled by mysterious booms that are not of this Earth … hence the name “skyquakes.” If it’s any consolation, it’s not just you.
“For the third time since February, a mysterious boom was heard and shaking felt Tuesday night by residents across San Diego County. The latest mystery phenomena — sometimes referred to as a skyquake — was reported just before 8:20 p.m. by residents as far south as Tijuana, as far east as El Cajon and in San Diego neighborhoods in the southeast and coastal areas, as well Linda Vista, Clairemont and Tierrasanta.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune has no idea what caused this late evening mysterious boom, which differs from two previous ones (eb. 16 and Mar. 10) only by the time – those occurred around 5 pm. All three involved shaking, but the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported no earthquakes. Todd Gloria, San Diego’s mayor, tweeted he heard it and had no idea what it was. The military heard and said it, like the two others, wasn’t a sonic boom. That leaves ‘skyquakes’, which is a catch-all term for shaky-quaky booms that aren’t quakes or sonic booms or meteorites. High winds and other atmospheric conditions can cause sound to travel unusually far, and meteorologists admit they still don’t know nor fully understand all of the events our atmosphere can throw at us.
If it’s any consolation, it’s not just San Diego or Southern California. At 3 am on March 25, Montreal was shaken by three skyquakes on the west side of the island. A thunderstorm was approaching, but weather experts were not convinced there was a link. On May 14, Mount Airy, North Carolina (hometown of Andy Griffith and inspiration for the sitcom town of Mayberry) was hit with yet another skyquake – one resident said it’s been averaging two per week this year. The local police (not the sheriff and his one-bullet deputy) have heard the booms and investigated them but say they’ve found nothing.
Anyone following the mysterious booms and noises reported around the world know this is just the tip of the shaking iceberg. Are San Diegans convinced it’s nothing to worry about? Of course not – they want their paradise back before it’s gone. They probably don’t want their skyquakes to get a name either, like the mysterious Seneca Guns which help the tourist business around Seneca Lake in New York like James Fenimore Cooper never could (he wrote about them in 1851 in a short story, “The Lake Gun”). San Diego doesn’t need any help. Neither do Montreal or Mount Airy.
They just want some answers … and some peace and quiet.
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone
(Big Yellow Taxi)
by Paul Seaburn