Do earthquakes cause popping sounds?

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Stephanie Philosophos

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Do earthquakes cause popping sounds?
« on: 10/07/2008 21:54:17 »
Stephanie Philosophos  asked the Naked Scientists:

I was in Aspen, Colorado in a hotel over the fourth of July.  It's a  
quiet town usually the night before the Fourth of July, so I'm not sure what I heard. In the middle of the night of the third of July, there was a POPping  sound and the hotel room shook. It woke me and my husband up.  A car  alarm went off for a few seconds outside.  I thought it was a  firework but my husband said it was an after shock of an earthquake. It sounded just like a firework.

I didn't believe him so I stayed up to listen for voices or noise of people but there wasn't a sound.  About a half and hour later the POP came again but not as loud and the hotel didn't shake but the car alarm went off for a few seconds.  Then some time later there was another POP but softer.  No rattle and no car alarm.  Was this an after shock of an earthquake?  The noise it made seemed weird for a natural sound.  Even though the hotel shook there was no damage from   any type of fireworks and no one was talking about it at the hotel.  I've never heard anything like it.

In the morning my husband started questioning what we heard even though he told me he had heard it years before in town.

Thanks for any help you could send my way
Stephanie Philosophos

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 12/07/2008 12:09:49 by chris »


Offline Bass

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Re: Do earthquakes cause popping sounds?
« Reply #1 on: 11/07/2008 06:37:23 »
Earthquakes can produce "POP" sounds, usually the result of movement of the building during shaking.  I've often heard windows "SNAP" during small earthquakes.
Checking with USGS, the last earthquake of large enough magnitude to be felt or heard in Colorado happened in Steamboat Springs on April 30 (and it was very small and only felt locally).  So the noise was probably not from an earthquake.
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Offline tangoblue

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Do earthquakes cause popping sounds?
« Reply #2 on: 11/03/2009 19:49:41 »
Luckally I've never been in an earthquake. and i don't know but popcorn does [;D]
« Last Edit: 12/03/2009 13:18:13 by tangoblue »



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Do earthquakes cause popping sounds?
« Reply #3 on: 14/03/2009 16:11:05 »
I've survived two earthquakes - both in England. They could be felt but only if you were up and about in the early hours.