We get to the bottom of the Huntington “booms”

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE) Officials in Huntington County and as far off as Colorado are investigating reports of mysterious loud booms around the region.

Huntington County Emergency Management Director Lindsie Goss said Friday the county has received “numerous” reports of explosions and booms over the last 10-14 days, with a spike over the last 24 hours (three reports from northern Huntington to Markle). Several people reported the booms to NewsChannel 15, one describing the noise as “very loud (like a cannon firing)” and another questioning whether a home exploded.

“I was watching TV and out of nowhere there was this loud boom,” Crystal Kohler said. “What in the world is going on?”

Anytime there’s something like this where there isn’t any concrete evidence to show for it, you hear a lot of interesting theories.

“I’ve heard everything from UFOs to tannerite, to house explosion, to nobody knows what it is. It’s a natural phenomenon. I’ve heard all kinds of things,” Kohler said.

“We’ve heard it was the quarry. We’ve heard Jesus is coming. We’ve heard lots of things,” Michelle Holley said.

Officials have ruled that out, thankfully, but while Goss said it’s not 100 percent clear what has caused the booms, they have a good idea.

Goss said meteorologists at the National Weather Service of Northern Indiana, geologists at the U.S. Geological Survey in Colorado and her office believe there is a “strong likelihood” the explosive noises are frost booms, or frost quakes.

“During the winter of course our temperatures change and the swell and the moisture expands and contracts, so if there is a sudden movement you can get a loud boom,” News Channel 15’s Chief Meteorologist Nicholas Ferreri said.

Goss is waiting for official confirmation on the frost booms hypothesis from the Indiana State Geologist and U.S. Geological Survey, which she has supplied with detailed data from each report the county has received to study. She said the federal office has already said the area has not registered seismic activity of more than a 2.5 magnitude.

In any case, the county, at least, has ruled out an actual explosion in the area, Goss said.

“At this time there is no evidence to suggest any explosives or incendiary devices have been detonated that would produce percussive forces to be audible over the entire geographic area reported,” Goss said.

According to reports of the decibel level of the booms, it’s easy to understand why that could be suspected.

Goss speculated the booming nature of the booms could be a result of the noise echoing off the vast Roush Dam, effectively enhancing them. She insisted that would be difficult to prove, though.

This isn’t the first time Huntington has experienced booms.

In November 2014, NewsChannel 15 reported the Huntington Police Department received several phone calls about an “explosion,” “loud boom” or “sonic boom” heard from Roanoke to Bippus, a 15-mile distance. Officials then said they did not find anything that would have caused the disruption.

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