Why Didn’t the Earth Shake on November 11, 2018?

The mysterious seismic waves that rang the planet like a bell

Martina Petkova
The Mystery Box
Published in
2 min readSep 25, 2020


Why Didn’t the Earth Shake on November 11, 2018? The mysterious seismic waves that rang the planet like a bell
Photo by Daniel Olah on Unsplash

On November 11, 2018, a ripple ran through the entire planet. Low-intensity seismic waves were detected from Africa to Hawaii.

It all began at around 9:30 AM Universal Time, 15 miles off the coast of Mayotte, an island located between Africa and Madagascar.

The waves then traveled north. They set off sensors in Zambia, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

Soon, they buzzed on the other side of the oceans: Chile, New Zealand, Canada, and Hawaii: 11,000 miles away from Mayotte.

The sensors rang for 20 minutes.

But what is disturbing scientists is not what happened — it’s what did not happen.

The waves

Low-intensity seismic waves like the kind detected on November 11 normally occur at the tail end of a very strong earthquake.

But there was no earthquake. No human appears to have felt them.

A seismologist at Columbia University who specializes in unusual earthquakes told National Geographic, “I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it.”

Everything about these waves was strange. They spread around the globe, they had a monotone ring, and the signal was a clean zigzag.

Nothing about them was typical for waves sent out by earthquakes.

So what did send them?


The mysterious waves conjured many images in people’s imagination.

Some speculated that the reason was a meteor strike. A celestial object, undetected, hit Earth and caused a tremor.

Others suggested an eruption of an underwater volcano.

And some: a sea monster.

We don’t know the answer for sure but scientists have been able to tip the scales towards one of these theories.

The French Geological Survey (BRGM) proposed that a new center for volcanic activity might be forming off the coast of Mayotte.

The region has been still for the past 4,000 years but it’s not completely cold. The island…



Martina Petkova
The Mystery Box

In my Medium writing, I explore the human psyche, our many contradictions, mental health, & the signs and causes of abuse. I also write about racism.