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'Quake' May Have Been Sonic Boom

July 19, 1986

Phone calls from earthquake-jittery residents flooded police switchboards after a sharp jolt rattled the Los Angeles Basin at about 9:30 Friday morning, but experts at Caltech's seismological laboratory in Pasadena said what people felt was probably a sonic boom.

The calls to law enforcement agencies and news media indicated that Friday's palpable jolt was felt across a broad band of the metropolitan area, stretching from Malibu on the west to La Verne on the east. There were no reports of damage.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Force were unable to identify a potential source of sonic booms, which are generated by the shock waves from aircraft flying faster than the speed of sound.

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