New England mystified by loud boom: Explosion? Earthquake? Meteor? Mystery boom and unexplained rumblings freak out people in New Hampshire

Mysterious boom and rumblings New England October 10 2021
Mysterious boom and rumblings New England October 10 2021. Picture via Volcano Discovery

A massive boom heard and felt by many in New Hampshire and Massachusetts mystified residents and had officials working to understand its cause.

On Sunday morning, residents reported hearing what sounded like an explosion and feeling a large jolt. Many thought it had been an earthquake.

But an official from the National Earthquake Information Center, part of the US Geological Survey, reported no evidence of earthquake activity in the New England region in the past week.

Others wondered if the boom came from a meteorite or a plane.

There was a kind of a loud boom that rattled our whole house,” one New Hampshire resident, Dan Brian, told the Times. “It had like an audible boom to it. It was very strange. That’s why everyone thought it was like an explosion at first.

First responders took calls reporting the incident. Dan MacDonald, a fire chief from New Boston, in New Hampshire, said he heard the boom and felt a “slight vibration”.

Soon afterwards, his fire department received numerous calls about the boom.

Fortunately, I’d gone to church this morning,” MacDonald said. “So I felt prepared.

The lack of recorded earthquake activity in the area does not rule out a minor earthquake of a kind common in New Hampshire, said geophysicist Jessica Turner.

There was a small earthquake, of 1.7 magnitude, on 22 August in the south-western part of the state.

Some interesting reports

Heard a loud bang, like an explosion which reverberated around the woods. Slight shaking – almost like the sound waves from the noise were hitting the house.

The ground did not shake. It sounded like a huge explosion from far away. You could feel it deep inside your chest. Almost like a huge bomb going off. It scared the hell out of us. This was a meteor shower weekend. Maybe one got through. Just a thought.

Was outside heard loud crack and then rumble like thunder. Lasted about 20 seconds.

Loud “explosion “ sound followed immed by smaller booms.

Felt like a boom.

Mostly sound: a sharp and very loud cracking explosion sound followed by thunder like rumbling. The sound was very much like a cannon echoing off the hills.

Loud bang and then 2 seconds of rumbling. Thought a tree had fallen on my house, but them shaking lasted a bit to long for just an impact.

Possible causes of the bang

Online, people shared experiences of the boom and speculated on possible causes, but no one’s really sure what it was or where it happened.

Many in the region speculated it could have been anything from an earthquake to a gender reveal gone wrong. But if the truth is out there, it hasn’t surfaced yet.

USGS readings showed no signs of a quake on Sunday.

There were no military flights over the region on Sunday, ruling out a boom from a supersonic aircraft.

There were also no signs of a gender-reveal disaster, like last April in the southeast corner of the state that involved 80 pounds of explosives, shook homes and even cracked the foundation of one residence.

That leaves one very good possibility.

I would look for a natural event, something coming into the atmosphere past the speed of sound,” scientist John Ebel from the Weston Observatory told WMUR. “Meteor, meteorite, probably causing enough energy to be released that people heard it here down on the ground.

Reminder: A sleeping woman was almost hit by a meteorite in British Columbia, Canada on October 4, 2021, when a space rock went through her roof.

At the time of this writing, no one has reported seeing a meteor and there have been no reports of damage. [NYT, Guardian, HuffPost, VC]

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