By Chris Spears
DENVER (CBS4) – Did you hear a loud boom or two around 9 p.m. Monday night?
Hundreds of people from Lakewood to Brighton, Lochbuie and Elizabeth took to social media reporting one to two distinct ‘explosion-like’ sounds that rattled windows and shook walls.
One CBS4 viewer in Brighton told me a chair tipped over on his porch!
The booms join a growing list of mysterious ‘explosion-like’ sounds reported in recent weeks around the United States.
- Southern New Jersey – Oct. 25
- Central Alabama – Nov. 14
- Lewiston, Idaho – Nov. 15
- Suburbs of Detroit – Nov. 18
There have also been reports of mysterious booms around the world. This website is reporting booms as far away as Russia, Denmark and Australia.
While I have no explanation for this my first thought is that we are still in the Leonid meteor shower which just peaked this past weekend. Could meteors be burning up as they enter the atmosphere, creating loud shock waves?
CBS4 Weather Watcher Ron Hranac, an astronomy expert, says no.
He tells me that if the booms were produced by a meteoroid that it wouldn’t be related to the Leonids because meteoroids from meteor showers are too small to make it to the ground and produce meteorites (or even close to the ground).
Meteor showers occur when the Earth passes through debris, mostly dust and small rock or ice particles, left by passing comets. That debris is dust-sized to perhaps pea-sized, and burns up fairly high in the atmosphere (50 to 75 miles above the surface).
I contacted Buckley Air Force Base and they told me all of their missions ended at 8:08 p.m. so the noise wasn’t caused by a military jet.
I also contacted the USGS in Golden and they said it wasn’t an earthquake, although a seismograph at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal did record about 10 minutes of ‘noise’ around the time of the booms, but said that the noise could have simply been something like a passing freight train.
There was one fireball photographed last night streaking high above Colorado but that was at 11:38 p.m., a few hours after the loud booms.
So the sounds remain a mystery! What do you think?
Meteorologist Chris Spears travels weekly in the CBS4 Mobile Weather Lab reporting about Colorado’s weather and climate. Check out his bio, connect with him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @ChrisCBS4.