Residents of Peabody have been experiencing booming sounds that rattle their houses and nerves. A public meeting was held to explain to residents that 3 earthquakes were recorded (below magnitude 2) in the area and this swarm of small quakes is causing the disturbance.
The booming noise results from the shallowness of the quakes that transmit the energy release on the surface as sound waves.
A similar phenomenon occurs historically in Moodus, Connecticut and also in 2008-2009 in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania. The shallow quakes represent a release of small stresses in the rock mass and are not indicative of increased seismicity or a subsequently large quake. It is possible, however, that moderately sized quakes can occasionally occur on the east coast at about a magnitude 4.
Dr. John Ebel was the speaker at the Peabody event. Check out his book New England Earthquakes: The Surprising History of Seismic Activity in the Northeast.