The mystery of unexplained, earth-rattling booms continues around the country. Whereas mystery booms were once a rare anomaly, they seem to be happening with unsettling regularity lately. What’s behind this mysterious phenomenon? Sonic booms caused by supersonic or hypersonic weapons and aircraft? Unknown atmospheric activity? Meteorite explosions? Earthquakes, frostquakes, or frack-quakes?
Anyone’s guess is as good as any. This week’s mystery booms come to us from the American south, where residents of four separate counties in Kentucky reported hearing “an earth-shaking sound” on January 23. Emergency dispatchers in Jackson, Madison, Estill, and Rockcastle counties were called when residents heard and felt a mysterious boom loud enough to shake their homes’ foundations.
“At about 6:19 pm yesterday evening a couple of people called in and said they heard this loud boom in the county. We went to check on it in the area, and we never found anything," Jackson County Sheriff Paul Hays told local news station WKYT. While the cause of the Kentucky mystery boom is still unknown, locals have speculated it could have been anything from an electrical transformer exploding, a rock quarry blast, a sonic boom, or outgassing caused by hydraulic fracking.
A few states to the west in Arkansas, residents of Little Rock took to social media to ask if anyone might know what caused a deafening mystery boom a few hours later on the same night. According to local news station FOX 16, several residents thought it may have been an F/A-18 breaking the sound barrier overhead - or worse. North Little Rock local Collette Young says the sounds were eerily reminiscent of battle:
My family has served and have been to war - at one point I thought we might be under attack. I just want to know what it is so the next time I hear the sound I am not so startled.
Spokespersons for nearby Little Rock Air Force Base and the Clinton National Airport had no information about the mysterious boom. I just hope that more of these mystery booms can’t be explained by the same causes as those determined the case of recurring booms heard in Pennsylvania last year; in that incident, it turns out that a would-be domestic terrorist was testing improvised explosives in remote areas. Could more of these mystery booms be of a similar origin, or is something stranger going on?