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Modern Mysteries

California 'booms' mystery has been solved

By T.K. Randall
August 4, 2015 · Comment icon 24 comments

The sounds were coming from a US military base 100 miles away. Image Credit: US Military / Cpl. R. Logan Kyle
Researchers have finally identified what has been causing loud booming sounds across the state.
Residents of California's Gold Country had been left perplexed by the noise which mysteriously started up last year and seemed to occur mainly between 11:00am and 2:00pm on weekdays.

So many people were affected by the din that locals set up a Facebook page entitled "Mother Lode Mystery Booms" to collect witness testimonies and to discuss what the strange sounds could be.

Fortunately at around that same time a team of scientists from Southern Methodist University was granted permission to set up a monitoring station at Columbia College as part of a much larger project designed to pick up signs of nuclear explosions.
Thanks to their listening equipment the researchers were able to record and triangulate the source of the sounds which turned out to be a US military installation located over 100 miles away - the Hawthorne Army Depot - which as it happens disposes of obsolete munitions on weekdays during the exact period of time during which the loud booming sounds had been reported.

The revelation was particularly remarkable due to the distances involved and because people living much closer to the site of the explosions hadn't been able to hear anything at all.

"I can't explain all the physics involved, but the atmosphere is bouncing in response to the energy and it's reflecting and bouncing (the sound) back down," said science instructor Glen White.

"The really odd part is people fairly close to the source of the energy, the explosions, aren't hearing it. The sound goes over them."

Source: Phys.org | Comments (24)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #15 Posted by CIA_Spy 9 years ago
Trust me, I know what's typically used. Pieces of plastic and detonators? Or tanks? Which sounds playschool and which sounds like the actual deal. Do these soldiers go around with plastic and time on their hands or do they drive around with bulking great tanks? Exactly, I rest my case. It's quite prehistoric, but military and governments generally are. I can verify that.
Comment icon #16 Posted by EllJay 9 years ago
Some of these unidentified booms seem to stem from hot slag from steel-mills - when they accidentally drop too hot slag in cooling pools - or even when they leave the slag outdoors on the ground and heavy rains starts. It can be a hell of a boom of this instant cooling. It's called a fuel-coolant interaction when molten steel meets water.The result is a massive and violent explosion of steam and fragmented bits of slag. That's what happened twice at Essar Steel Algoma twice in the past year. The first time was in July at #7 blastfurnace and the second was today at the slag pits west of the mil... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by Solipsi Rai 9 years ago
I'm in the Palm Springs area and sometimes, we heard sonic booms from air force jets going faster than the speed of sound, so it may leave a "BOOM" noise above us. The CA desert has many US Armed forces installations and activity, as well in nearby AZ and NV, and of course, San Diego has its bases (the city's largest employer is the US Armed forces). I heard a few of them myself, somewhat compared to a LOUD gun shot in the air and can vibrate or shake the ground for like 2-3 seconds.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Merc14 9 years ago
Trust me, I know what's typically used. Pieces of plastic and detonators? Or tanks? Which sounds playschool and which sounds like the actual deal. Do these soldiers go around with plastic and time on their hands or do they drive around with bulking great tanks? Exactly, I rest my case. It's quite prehistoric, but military and governments generally are. I can verify that. Great, we love verifiable data here so please do so.
Comment icon #19 Posted by badeskov 9 years ago
Trust me, I know what's typically used. Pieces of plastic and detonators? Or tanks? Which sounds playschool and which sounds like the actual deal. Do these soldiers go around with plastic and time on their hands or do they drive around with bulking great tanks? Exactly, I rest my case. It's quite prehistoric, but military and governments generally are. I can verify that. Uhm, EOD teams don't use tanks. They use small pieces of C4 or similar that they attach to whatever they want to get rid of and then detonate it from a distance. You have no idea what you are talking about. Cheers, Badeskov
Comment icon #20 Posted by CIA_Spy 9 years ago
Uhm, EOD teams don't use tanks. They use small pieces of C4 or similar that they attach to whatever they want to get rid of and then detonate it from a distance. You have no idea what you are talking about. Cheers, Badeskov I have every idea, the problem is you don't. What's an EOD team for chrissake? Look, they do use tanks, not always, sometimes they're out of fuel because they burn through it like nobody's business, right, so yes you're correct; when the tanks are being charged the teams go out there with C4's blazing. That tends to be because they've got spare C4's lying around like party ... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by aquatus1 9 years ago
That's enough of that. **Back on topic**
Comment icon #22 Posted by aquatus1 9 years ago
What part of **Back on Topic** are you guys not getting?
Comment icon #23 Posted by Merc14 9 years ago
What part of **Back on Topic** are you guys not getting? The topic is mysterious booms in CA, CIA-Spy's response is tanks blowing up explosive caches and "firing off C-4s". Do we stay on topic by not challenging his unlikely explanation and knowledge of what he is talking about?
Comment icon #24 Posted by Daughter of the Nine Moons 9 years ago
CIA_Spy If you are asked by a moderator to stop doing something that they deem is disruptive then you stop. If you further wish to discuss the issue you may send a pm to the moderator and discuss it politely offline. If you're confused please take the time to review the forum rules


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