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'Earthquake Swarm' In Peabody Causing Recent Shakes, Seismologist Says

PEABODY (CBS) -- The cause of mysterious booms that have left the Peabody community shaken has now been solved.

At least three earthquakes and multiple booms have been heard over the last couple of months, but no one knew what was causing them. On Wednesday night, the community finally got some answers as to what is happening.

Expert seismologist John Ebel says there is an explanation for the multiple shakes and booms felt recently in Peabody and surrounding areas. And that there is no reason for great concern.

Ebel, who is a professor at Boston College, says these shakes and booms are part of what is called an Earthquake Swarm, which is caused by the pressure that builds up as the North American tectonic plate moves.

Peabody Earthquake Meeting

Professor Ebel says smaller earthquakes are often reported as gunshots and explosions, matching the description of two reports back in February.

"So is there a chance these earthquakes are related to the quarry? Perhaps. However, if they are related to the quarry, I would not expect the events to be felt and heard here in the center of Peabody, but not being heard and felt near the quarry. So that's got me kind of confused because the earthquakes should be occurring with say a mile from the quarry," said Ebel. "So the locations of where people are hearing and feeling these is a very important data point for me."

Ebel says while earthquakes are unpredictable, the chances of a large or damaging earthquake during the swarm are less than five and one percent.

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