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Cornish 'Earthquake' Actually Sonic Boom

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 7:01am 6th June 2014

Cornwall's mystery rumble may have been explained.

It is after reports of an earthquake and a big bang making buildings shake from Looe to Grampound.

Writing on Pirate FM's Facebook page Jen said: "Just wondering how many people in Cornwall felt their house or any buildings shake earlier on. And with a very odd sound. I'm in Crugmeer, Padstow and it was quite scary."

Rik added: "Wondering if anyone else in Liskeard just heard and felt the tremor/rumble about 10 minutes ago? It made all the units in Liskeard Business park shake."

But experts from the British Geological Survey reckon it may have been an aircraft breaking the sound barrier on Thursday lunchtime.

A spokesperson said: "Data from the BGS seismic networks in the region were examined and a signal consistent with a possible sonic origin was recorded at 11:38 & 11:39 UTC on two seismic stations in the area. The reports received are also consistent with historical observations received for previous events with a sonic origin.

"A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves created when an object, such as an aircraft, breaks the sound barrier. An aircraft travelling slower than the speed of sound (~760 mph) creates a series of audible pressure waves that spread out in front and behind it. These waves travel at the speed of sound. As the speed of the aircraft increases these waves get closer together and at the speed of sound they merge into a single shock wave that starts at the nose and ends at the tail of the aircraft.

"The boom is created by the sudden increase in pressure at the nose and also as the pressure returns to normal at the tail as the aircraft passes. This can lead to a distinctive 'double boom'. The shock wave or boom continues to be generated for as long as the aircraft is supersonic, which is why they are typically observed along a long strip along the flight path of the aircraft."

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