Somerset County boom a mystery
By DARLA L. PICKETT
Morning Setinel (Maine)
February 24, 2006
SKOWHEGAN -- The earth shook and buildings rumbled Thursday morning,
according to at least a dozen residents who reported tremors in Anson,
Madison, Skowhegan and Norridgewock.
Shortly before 10 a.m., the Somerset County Communications Center was
inundated with calls from people who said they had experienced
Despite numerous reports within the 15-mile radius, local and state
authorities could find no documented account that any type of earthquake
or tremor had occurred.
State geologist Bob Marvinney of the Maine Geological Service said that
if an earthquake had occurred, it was not recorded by any of the
instruments in Maine or New England.
Marvinney said he had contacted the New England Seismic Network, and
authorities there said nothing was apparent: "I'm surprised we didn't
pick up anything. There are other kinds of explanations like quarrywork
and roadwork," he said.
An official at the National Weather Service said he also had heard no
However, Emergency Management Director Robert Higgins Sr. said he is
going to ask them to look again.
"I'd like them to relook at what they may have; this is the second
occurrence in less than a week of such magnitude," he said.
Higgins said residents of Solon and South Solon last Friday reported
what sounded like a loud explosion, during which houses and mobile homes
in the area shook: "That would indicate a tremor, he said."
Residents who reported the shaking this Thursday said the tremors were
Norridgewock's town manager, John Doucette, said the shaking and noise
was so significant, it sounded like a Dumpster had fallen off a truck or
a truck had hit the building: "We went outside to see if there was an
More than a mile away, Jeffrey McGown, district manager of Waste
Management on U.S. Route 2 in Norridgewock, said he was sitting in his
office when the noise and shaking occurred.
"It felt like somebody with a delivery type of vehicle had backed into
our building," McGown said. "I was on a conference call and I got up to
see what had struck. We went out on the site and looked around, we
thought maybe the town airport (nearby) had an experience. It was so
localized, we thought a delivery truck had hit the front porch."
In Anson, about six miles away, the shaking was so strong, even off-duty
dispatcher William Crawford called the Communications Center.
"I heard a loud boom that shook the house," Crawford said. "At first I
thought it was the furnace. I asked my son 'Did you feel that?' It shook
the couch. I thought maybe something fell upstairs, or maybe the chimney
collapsed or something. I went outside to look around. You can see the
town garage from the house; I thought maybe it was the back of the
bucket banging. Nobody was at the town garage."
Late Thursday, Higgins said he checked with Guilford Industries to see
if they were working the quarry in the Embden-Solon area: "They said
they hadn't done any blasting since last fall. And it was no sonic
boom-- not that loud and shaking that many buildings. It's just
unexplainable, I guess."
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