MacDill Airforce Base described to reporters the "2.7 earthquake" on Friday afternoon heard by both central and western Floridians was "2 F-18 jets
landing at the air force base". The wide area of coverage and duration as well as reported location of the event is met with great skepticism.
MacDill AFB is the center for Middle East operations and the epicenter of the "earthquake".
People living in Pinellas County got an unexpected shock tonight. Several people called us in the newsroom claiming they heard a loud boom and felt
their homes shake. It wasn't an earthquake... but it was two Navy F-18 jets flying to MacDill Air Force base from Pensacola. A MacDill spokesman says
the jets went super sonic over the gulf of Mexico. In fact the u-s geological society says the sonic boom registered at least a 2-point 7 on the
Richter scale. MacDill says they are checking in to any rules violations.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
The epicenter is registered with USGS as right over MacDill Air Force Base (right in the top of the Tampa Bay) yet the news reported the exact
location as over the Gulf of Mexico. Now they have removed the data from the USGS site depicting that earthquake epicenter.
The flight path was reported to be from Pensacola to Tampa, a path that would naturally fall over the Gulf of Mexico.
"What Remi and thousands of other residents from Citrus to Manatee counties heard and felt was two F-18 jets breaking the sound barrier. The
resulting booms resonated from Citrus to Manatee counties."
While Citrus county is north of Tampa (Hillsborough County), Manatee county is south. Plausible areas in line with the described flight path.
Orlando however is not in that path:
"The shaking registered on the U.S. Geological Survey seismograph in Orlando, measuring 2.7 on the Richter Scale, the equivalent of a very weak
earthquake. Central Florida is not an active earthquake area, said USGS duty officer Madeleine Zirbes. "They did see it register," Zirbes said from
Denver, Colo. "They thought immediately that it could be a sonic boom."
Area activity and similar historical events:
"On June 16, 2003, Manatee County experienced a similar boom. The military disavowed any knowledge of aircraft in the area and that boom remains a
Earlier Friday evening, a security worker at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport acknowledged that at least one Navy cargo plane performed
maneuvers in the area and landed at the airport. More details were not available Friday night."
The unusual duration of the sonic boom:
"Remi has heard the double boom that comes when space shuttles re-enter the atmosphere. On Friday, he said it sounded more like five or six booms in
"I never heard so many booms come as rapidly as that," he said.
The personal experience of the author of this article, located in Clearwater, Florida (Pinellas County), was that the event shook and resonated all
windows in his house for approximately a 10 second period (6 booms sounds a similar account). The event was highly unusual and earthquake seemed
implausible yet the best description of the event. Sonic boom was considered but the duration specifically made justification of a sonic boom
difficult to believe.
MacDill AFB as the center of operations in the Middle East and the 2.7 registration of the event in Orlando (east of MacDill by 70+ miles) makes the
scenario of supersonic flight by something classified more likely. The only reported military aircraft was a cargo plane at that time. As those who
follow program data such as X43 and Aurora know, supersonic aircraft can and are deployed by cargo planes.
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[edit on 13-3-2005 by Banshee]