Mysterious Sonic Boom Heard Over Southern California

First thought to be an Earthquake, the window-rattling boom was most likely a test flight of an undisclosed military aircraft.

A mysterious sonic boom rattled residents in parts of coastal Southern California on Monday, leading many to believe they had experienced an earthquake. Reports of the shaking and rattling reached California Technical Institute (Caltech) seismologists who check for earthquakes, but according to a report from MSN, they saw no such activity.

“Based on our analysis of the waveforms for the Caltech sensors, it appears to be a sonic boom, likely due to a plane flyover,” said Caltech seismologist Jennifer Andrews. “We definitely see no earthquake activity in our data.”


According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) website, “a sonic boom is a thunder-like noise a person on the ground hears when an aircraft or other type of aerospace vehicle flies overhead faster than the speed of sound, or “supersonic.”

In March, The Debrief reported on a sonic boom heard over the northeastern United States that was likely caused by a meteor that exploded into a fireball. Another report in May by The Debrief looked into reports of mysterious sonic booms across the northeastern U.S., but the origin of those sounds is also still a mystery.

In July, there were eerily similar reports of a sonic boom first mistaken for an earthquake in Southern California. In that case, the ABC7 local news reported, “A Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson said the rattling most likely came from a military aircraft.”


After popular local seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones informed her twitter followers that no earthquake activity had been recorded on Monday, the possibility of a military test flight began to emerge.

According to local CBS TV news affiliate, “a spokesperson for Camp Pendleton said there was no training going on at the base that would’ve created the noises heard up and down the coast.”

That same report says that CBS reached out to the U.S. Space Command to see if the Russian missile test that destroyed a satellite and caused crewmembers of the International Space Station (ISS) to run for cover could have caused the boom, but reported that “U.S. Command said that the timing doesn’t match.


The Debrief has previously reported on the possibility of replacement for the famed SR-71 Blackbird under development by Lockheed Martin Skunkworks unofficially dubbed the SR-72. Lockheed Martin is headquartered in Southern California, making it another possible suspect for the mysterious sonic boom. In that report, Skunkworks team member Melissa Daulton told The Debrief, “This is a highly sensitive mission area, and I don’t have anything specific that I can share.”

In July, The Debrief was able to confirm that the United States Air Force (USAF) was planning to retire their top line fighter the F-22 Raptor by the end of the decade. There is still no word on exactly which fighter will replace the Raptor, but the capabilities hoped for by the USAF’s Next Generation Air Dominance Program (NGAD) offer some tantalizing details.

As for what caused the mysterious sonic boom heard over So Cal on Monday, reports are still unclear. However, given the location, which is near numerous major military installations and military aviation contractors, and the plans already revealed by the USAF, it is entirely possible that another top secret aircraft is already going through its paces right above the sunny California coast.

 Follow and connect with author Christopher Plain on Twitter: @plain_fiction