why is my house shaking but no earthquake

Why is my house shaking but no earthquake?” is a question that could be regarded as frightening and disconcerting.

Have you ever been in a situation where you are at home and suddenly, the house starts shaking?

But after careful observation, it was discovered that it wasn’t an earthquake. 

For some, this might be just a one-time experience, while for others, it could be a recurring problem.

So the question now is, how can I prevent it from damaging my home?

Well, if you want to learn more, keep reading.

One reason why your house could be shaking without any sign of an earthquake could actually be a result of a big earthquake happening far away. Other reasons include a train or heavy trucks passing by a strong gust of wind, or mining activities close by.

It Could Be An Aftershock

it could be aftershock

There are numerous possibilities for why your house could be shaking without it being a noticeable earthquake.

One of these possibilities could be that it was caused by an aftershock. It could be that an earthquake actually happened but was not as pronounced.

This usually occurs in areas that have just experienced an actual earthquake.

An aftershock is a smaller-intensity earthquake that occurs in the same area where a larger one occurred. 

An aftershock is caused when the displaced earth’s crust tries to adjust to the effect of the main shock.

At this point, most people anticipate it after going through an earthquake. 

It is not as pronounced or nearly as destructive as an actual earthquake. Some are not even felt except by the use of instruments such as the ETAS. 

Aftershocks can happen within days or years following an actual earthquake, and they can occur multiple times until the earth’s crust is fully adjusted.

So if you live in a neighborhood that just experienced an earthquake, it might just be an aftershock or a smaller earthquake that you just felt.

Phantom Quakes Or Earthquake Sickness

might be phantom quakes

Another reason why you might feel your house could be shaking without an actual earthquake is due to a psychological effect called “phantom quakes.”

Phantom quakes are situations where it feels like the earth is shaking, while in reality, it isn’t.

This scenario can be likened to the motion sickness felt after exiting a boat.

This is where it feels like you are still at sea when in reality, you are on dry land.

Phantom quakes are just your mind playing tricks on you and can be triggered when you miss your steps and get disoriented after an earthquake occurs.

It makes it feel as if another earthquake is occurring. 

This usually occurs a few minutes after an actual earthquake and can be easily cured the same way we treat motion sickness.

Its cure is by training your eyes on distant objects, laying down, or having a drink.

Why Is My House Shaking But No Earthquake? – Other Reasons

why house is shaking

So apart from aftershocks, which are just mini earthquakes with little to no effect, and phantom quakes, there are reasons your house could be shaking without an earthquake. 

Phantom quakes have to do with your mind playing tricks and making you think an earthquake is happening when in reality, it isn’t.

There are still other reasons why your house could be shaking without it being an earthquake.

So, why does it feel like my house is shaking when there is no earthquake?

Let’s find out.

Reason #1: A Big Earthquake Is Happening Far Away

Do you feel your house shaking, and there is no earthquake happening in your immediate vicinity?

It could be that it is happening somewhere else, far away from your area.

Seismic waves caused by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or even landslides are known to travel long distances. 

Although the effects are usually subtle, earthquakes happening around the world could be felt in other parts of the world.

big earthquake happening

This is so especially if the earthquake is big enough.

The intensity of the shake will be determined by the distance between the quake and your house.

Tip: Mostly, shakes like this are not destructive and would only last a few seconds.

Reason #2: Vibrations Caused By Heavy Traffic

Is your house is located close to a busy highway where heavy-duty vehicles and trucks ply or close to a train station?

You should not be surprised because then you might experience some occasional shaking of your house when traffic is busy.

The vibrations from these vehicles and trains are sometimes strong enough to cause your house to experience a temporary shake as they pass.

caused by heavy traffic

In cases like this, it is easy to identify the source or cause of the shaking, which gives you ample time to brace yourself before it occurs. 

The effects of the vibrations caused by these vehicles can last from a few seconds and, in some cases, up to a few hours.

Note: The effects of the vibrations caused by these vehicles all depend on how heavy the traffic is at that very moment.

Reason #3: Mining Activities Nearby

If a quarry or mining operation is going on close to your home, you are likely to experience occasional shaking of your house.

Miners make use of explosives and heavy-duty equipment to blast and break down rocks. It is the vibrations from these that can cause your house to shake.

Also, if factories are operating within proximity to your home, you are predisposed to shaking houses.

Most factories make use of heavy machinery, which can cause vibrations that can make houses nearby vibrate and shake.

mining

One way you can determine if the cause of the shake is from the activities of miners or a factory.

Tip: You can do this by comparing the exact time they occur with the working hours of these companies.

Reason #4: Military Base Nearby

The types of weapons used during training exercises on military bases can be the cause of the vibrations shaking your home.

Equipment such as artillery guns, tanks, explosives, and other heavy-duty military vehicles and weapons produce lots of sounds and vibrations when being used.

It can cause the surrounding buildings to vibrate and shake, but these are usually followed by loud bangs.

So if your home is shaking and you live close to a military base or training facility, that could be a result of activities going on there.

military

Reason #5: High-speed Wind Or Thunder

Your house could experience a little bit of shaking when hit by a gust of high-speed wind.

The wind hitting the house at the perfect angle with enough force, is enough to cause it to shake. 

This is common in areas that experience lots of thunderstorms or hurricanes.

Depending on the force of the wind, the intensity of the vibrations could vary and would continue to happen as long as the wind is still blowing.

Also, the sound of thunder and lightning can cause your house to shake. The closer the strike is to your house, the more intense the shaking will be. 

Note: In some cases, it can even destroy some home appliances if care is not taken.

How To Reduce The Effect Of Shaking Houses

how to reduce shaking

There is little you can do if the vibrations shaking your house are caused by the listed options above.

If they make you uncomfortable, the best solution would be to relocate to a location far from all of these. 

But it becomes a problem when you don’t have the resources for that.

Then, the next best thing would be to track the time when these activities that cause the vibrations take place so you can prepare yourself at all times. 

This way, you won’t be caught unaware. You can also seek an audience with those in charge to see if there is anything they could do to reduce the vibrations. 

You might be in luck, as there are lots of attachments available today that can reduce the effects of vibrations.

What Else Can You Do? 

You can also make changes to your house, like lifting it off the ground just like you would a car and adding strong supports to hold it in place. 

Since vibrations are transferred through the earth, the amount hitting your house would be reduced since it is no longer touching the ground.

use acoustic damper

Also, you can make use of an acoustical damper to cancel out vibrations reaching your home.

Note: Acoustical dampers use sound waves to block out vibrations, which reduces the amount reaching the house.

Conclusion

After reading this piece, you shouldn’t be asking the question, “why is my house shaking but no earthquake?

We’ve discussed some of the causes and some simple solutions you can employ to reduce the effect.

We don’t have control over aftershocks and big earthquakes happening in other places. You just have to be patient for it to end while keeping yourself safe. 

If you suffer from phantom quakes, you just need to be still, lay down, or focus your eyes on an object to regain your balance.

As for vibrations caused by the activities of others, which you have no control over, you can just leave the neighborhood if you have the resources or endure.

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