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Strange Noises and Shaking Explained

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Dirk Vander Ploeg's picture

Publisher's Note: Scientists believe that they have solved the strange noise phenomenon, alt least as far as Clintonville, Wisconsin is concerned. Does this explain all strange noises, all over the globe. I don't think so. Enjoy this article posted on the CNN website. Dirk

Wisconsin Town Experiences Unexplained Sounds and Shaking

The mystery behind four days of unexplained shaking and odd sounds rattling Clintonville, Wisconsin, has been solved.

The cause? A "swarm" of minor earthquakes amplified by the unique bedrock beneath the state of Wisconsin.

The strange sounds -- variously described as rattling pipes, clanging metal, thunder or firecrackers -- have continued on and off since early Sunday night in just one part of the small town of 4,600, located about 180 miles northeast of Madison. They were loud enough Monday morning that a CNN journalist could hear them during a cell phone conversation with city administrator Lisa Kuss.

Speaking to Clintonville residents Thursday night, Kuss said the U.S. Geological Survey has determined that "our community did in fact experience an earthquake that registered 1.5 on the earthquake magnitude scale." That minor quake was measured on Tuesday night by several mobile earthquake monitoring stations that were dispatched to the region, she said.

Based on all the data, the USGS believes the shaking and strange sounds are the result of "a swarm of several small earthquakes in a very short amount of time," Kuss said.

While these small earthquakes normally don't cause such commotion, Kuss said the location of the shallow temblors helped amplify the shaking.

"In other places in the United States, a 1.5 earthquake would not be felt," she said. "But the type of rock that Wisconsin has transmits seismic energy very well."

When the shaking began last Sunday, hundreds of residents began calling 911. Kerry Danley said she hear noises around midnight that sounded like a paintball gun.

"It was just pop-pop-pop," she said. "So I woke up -- just jumped out of bed actually -- ran downstairs, looked outside, nothing.

Since Sunday, the shaking has happened nearly every night, quieting down during the day. Absent of any explanations, residents were left to their own devices to come up with explanations.

"My bet is on gremlins," one Facebook user jokingly posted to WLUK's Facebook page. Alien machinery buried for millennia, countered another.

No, said one one tongue-in-cheek Twitter user. It's clearly mole men launching their attack on the surface dwellers.

Others suggested huge earthworms or sewer cats. Some Clintonville residents were even holding "shake" parties at night, waiting for the rumbling.

As city officials ruled out electrical explosions, gas leaks and sewer collapses, they started consulting geological experts around the country. Based on the data from eight seismic monitoring stations, Kuss said the USGS finally determined on Thursday that earthquakes were to blame.

While the cause of the shaking has been solved, it's still not clear if the rattling in Clintonville is over, Kuss said.

Article continues here: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/23/us/wisconsin-noises-earthquake/index.html

 

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