Earthquake Booms, 'Seneca Guns', and Other Sounds - Earthquake "booms" have been reported for a long time, and in the US they tend to occur more in the Northeastern US and along the East Coast. There have been many reports of "booms" that cannot be explained by man-made sources. No one knows for sure, but scientists speculate that these "booms" are probably small shallow earthquakes that are too small to be recorded, but large enough to be felt by people nearby. In New Madrid, Missouri, there are accounts of "artillery-like" sounds that were said to have occurred before or during the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812. [Mystery booms coming from deep in the plate boundary were reported in Indonesia for many months before the December 2004 quake and tsunami.]

Meteors exploding in the atmosphere are a possible cause of other unexplained booms, which are sometimes described as skyquakes.

There does not appear to be any agreement on what causes the booms of the 'Seneca guns'. They have been occurring in several places around the eastern U.S. and in India for at least a century or two.


MYSTERY BOOMS reported in 2007 -

CALIFORNIA - 12/4/07 - Worried citizens who believed another wildfire was burning in Los Angeles called authorities in what was believed to be remnants from a possible meteor shower. "We received several 911 calls from concerned citizens early today about fire being seen across the Los Angeles skies. We believe they may be seeing remnants of a meteor shower in the sky and want to assure people there are no wildfires currently burning in Los Angeles.

TENNESSEE - 11-20-07 -
A ground and air search of northern Bedford County was conducted Tuesday night after two area residents reported possibly seeing an airplane going down. Nothing was found as of Wednesday morning. Emergency workers were inititally notified of grass fires near a subdivision on Pepper Hill Road and on Eady Road west and north of Deason about 7:45 p.m. Deputies were later told both callers said they'd seen what they thought was a plane. No fires were found. Also, a man said a loud "boom" shook his room at the Tennessee Fire and Codes Academy, Unionville-Deason Road.
Rescue personnel did a "dark search" of an area behind the academy and checked several small, private airstrips in the area. Four-wheelers were used to check several areas described by callers as possible crash sites. A helicopter was brought in later, finding nothing except a burning brush pile on Ebb Joyce Road. [A webpage reader has reported a 20-30 second loud, low rumbling around the 1st of November in Knoxville, Tennessee.]

11/1/07 - CANADA - at 3:20 am there was a big boom experienced in the Vancouver area of British Columbia, Canada. It was heard over a large area, including Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby and Coquitlam. "It was of such a force in Coquitlam that it shook our whole house and knocked down ceiling panels in our basement. A friend (80) reported that she was also awakened by the boom and when she looked out her window she saw large flashes in the sky, which she attributed to a sizeable fireworks display!" (This has not been reported on the news sites and was dismissed by radio reporters as thunder.)

10/11/07 -
AUSTRALIA - The BIGGEST QUAKE IN 40 YEARS to hit the Great Southern has cracked the walls of one man’s home but left his neighbours’ homes unscathed. The quake, which registered 4.8 on the Richter scale, left his house trashed.
“I do know that it happened just around 8 oclock because my clocks all jumped off the wall, along with all my pictures, and the clocks stopped.” While many people reported that the quake had shaken their house, for this man the experience was quite different. “I never had a shake I just had an almighty boom.” He has been expecting something like this for some time. “For the last few months I’ve also been getting these booms and it took a while to work out what it was. It sounded like something landing on the roof – we’re talking something pretty heavy, not like a swan or a bird, more like an elephant.
I’d ring my neighbours up after and say ‘did you hear that? Did you feel it?’ and they’d say ‘no we never felt anything’. I almost felt like I was going mad, that I was just imagining it although I know one time my daughters were here staying with me and they said ‘what is that dad?’ and I said ‘I don’t really know’.
So it’s been very localised but it hasn’t happened for at least a month which had me concerned - either it was going away, or this was coming and this is what came." (photos)

INDIA - A geologist has visited 8 Gir villages to study mysterious rumbling sounds
that have been occurring for the past several days. He said that the sounds are certainly not emanating from earthquake tremors or its aftershock, but were caused due to "block system", which might be the after-effect of the 2001 massive earthquake in Kutch. However, he refused to elaborate. Asked about his observation of the recurring phenomena, he replied that he cannot say anything with certainty about its root cause. The villages of Haripar, Jasapar, Moruka, Suruva, Vadla, Akol Vadi, Rasoolpara and Hadamatiya experienced the rumbling sounds on the 8th, spreading panic among the people who rushed out of their houses as the vessels started making a huge rattling sound. Many houses developed cracks on the walls. All of the villages fall within a radius of 15 kilometers. The village of Jaspar experienced 15 such sounds. These events are not new, and three years ago such sounds were felt in Haripur. A seismograph installed between October and December of 2001 has so far recorded more than a thousand tremors, ranging up to 3 on the Richter scale. The Haripur village and nearby areas had again experienced the rumbling sounds during December of 2004.

9/18/07 - CALIFORNIA - Mysterious shaking along Central Coast on Monday morning - Folks in the Five Cities Area reported they felt an earthquake. People as far away as Santa Maria to Los Osos also felt shaking. One San Luis Obispo woman said she saw her windows shake three times about five minutes apart. "It really shook, and I though we're having an earthquake, but nothing else was shaking. So I don't know. Just the windows? Just the windows." The U.S. Geological Survey is not reporting any earthquakes in the area. Monday's shaking is consistent with past sonic booms. Action News contacted several military bases across the region but none would confirm that that was the cause.

8/17/07 - CALIFORNIA - 12:09 am - Representatives with the Sonora Police Department and both the Tuolumne and Calaveras County Sheriff's Departments say they fielded numerous calls early in the morning in regards to a "loud boom," and "structures shaking." There were several calls from residents who reported seeing "a blue light," just before the "loud boom." The incident reportedly occurred at 12:09am. The Police Department notes that it also received a call from a resident in Tuolumne, in which a female reported seeing what she thought was fireworks, and then something spiraling over her house. Early indication from the law enforcement agencies is that the loud boom was somehow the result of a meteor shower.

8/7/07 - AUSTRALIA - It might have felt like an earthquake to Sydney coastal residents but it wasn't, scientists say. Dozens of Sydney coastal residents reported their houses shaking this afternoon (8/7) but Geoscience Australia said it was not an earthquake. Residents reported windows shaking about 3.45pm (AEST) in the eastern beach suburbs of Maroubra, Clovelly, Bondi and Tamarama. "We're pretty happy to say that it wasn't an earthquake. At this stage Geoscience Australia has not recorded any seismic activity. It would certainly have to be very, very small for us not to register it." Radio talkback callers also reported several houses shaking on Sydney's north shore and northern beaches.
AUSTRALIA - A mystery earth tremor has been reported by residents in eastern Sydney, but the A number of ABC radio listeners have also reported feeling a tremor on the north shore and eastern suburbs. A defence spokeswoman also ruled out a sonic boom from high speed aircraft.

MISSOURI - 7/23/07 - The United States Air Force has launched an investigation and hope to provide resdents who heard a series of loud booms Monday with an answer to clear up any confusion. Military officials at Whiteman Air Force Base at Knob Noster, Missouri said that their staff would do everything they could to determine what caused all the commotion Monday afternoon. Air Force personnel were not aware of any missions or training exercises in the area at that time that would have caused the booms that were accompanied by shaking in some areas. Residents from one end of Camden county to the other reported hearing loud, sonic-type boom sounds beginning around 2:15 p.m. The sounds and shaking that accompanied the booms shook windows, rattled dishes and may have caused some damage to walls where the sheet rock cracked.
The sheriff's department had contacted Whiteman, the St. Louis Earthquake Center and other agencies to find out what caused the noise.

7/19/07 - CALIFORNIA - Military aircraft appear to be responsible for sonic booms and shaking that residents around the county were feeling Wednesday afternoon, July 18th, officials said. Edwards Air Force Base officials said they sent an F-22 airplane out to a testing area about 50 miles off the coast that could have explained the rattling residents reported. But the area is also used by other branches of the U.S. military that could have had aircraft in the area.
In addition, NASA was conducting sonic boom testing at the base that may have been heard by residents along the coast. The base is located in the Mojave Desert, near the Kern and Los Angeles county line. Sheriff’s Department officials reported receiving dozens of calls from residents around the county who reported feeling shaking and loud booms at three different times before about 1:30 p.m. Residents from California Valley to Arroyo Grande reported feeling the shaking and hearing the booms.
Comments from residents - "I've lived in California all of my 48 years, and I've heard sonic booms many times before, including the big double boom of the shuttle coming in. This was much different. It was 3 or 4 seconds of what sounded like a jackhammer on my walls, followed by a window rattling boom. If the Air Force is playing with a new secret toy, fine, say "no comment",
but this story isn't working for me at all." "I thought we were seriously under attack. I got my dog ready to evacuate. A boom is a boom, an
explosion and several second rumble is something very different. I'm not buying the story..."

7/9/07 - SRI LANKA - The residents of Lunugamwehera in the Hambanthota district of Sri Lanka’s Southern Province say they experienced something similar to an earthquake in the early hours on Monday. The residents of Beralihela and adjacent villages say that the tremor was unexpected and the houses quivered with the earth shock around 12 to 12:30 in the middle of the night. However, a spokesman of the National Geological and Mines Bureau said that no earthquake that could have felt by Sri Lanka was recorded by the equipment at the centre.

5/15/07 - TENNESSEE - Dozens of people in Knox County woke up to some rumbling Monday morning and investigators are still working to figure out what it was.
Dozens of calls flooded central dispatch at about 1:15am, mostly from two neighborhoods off Northshore Drive in West Knoxville; Admiral's Landing and Northshore Landing. Many people tell us they woke up to loud rumbling and thought there were animals or prowlers in their basements or attics. Others thought there was some sort of explosion shaking the ground. "Half of our neighborhood had come outside and there was these constant shakes in the ground, constant thud. It felt like some type of missile attack. It wasn't an earthquake, I've been through an earthquake."

4/9/07 - VIETNAM - An 'earthquake-like phenomenon' in central Vietnam sent residents into a panic. Hundreds of people in a village in Vietnam’s central highlands fled their homes in panic early Monday when a suspected earthquake hit the area. No one was hurt and scientists and authorities are studying the area to see if it was indeed an earthquake or some other phenomenon. Residents of A Klai village in Gia Lai province’s in La Pet commune said they had felt strong vibrations beneath the ground, houses shook violently, cracks had appeared on the walls, and the ground had sunk. Fissures up to 4 meters deep had opened up. Incredibly, however, all these were confined to a tiny area of around 50 meters, with areas beyond that remaining unaffected.

MYSTERY BOOMS BACK - 3/8/07 - SOUTH CAROLINA - Newsrooms were flooded with calls about the mystery rumble observed Thursday morning. According to the National Earthquake Information Center, there is nothing to indicate there was an earthquake in the Charleston area. It doesn't rule out the possibility that it was a smaller quake, but they said it was most likely a sonic boom. However, the Charleston air traffic controller said there was nothing in the pattern at that time that is capable of producing a sonic boom. There are no reports of damage.
A big boom, followed by earthquake-like tremors. That's how people are describing what they felt Thursday morning. "The ground was shaking, the house was shaking, the windows were banging.” All those who felt it say it lasted seconds. Even the National Weather Channel was reporting a possible earthquake felt in the Charleston area. But since the 1800s, not a single report of a quake in that area has been confirmed. The National Earthquake Information Center says this isn't an earthquake since nothing was recorded on their seismographs. There is another possible explanation for this mystery according to the US Geological Survey. There is an unexplained phenomenon called Seneca Guns that sound like sonic booms and shake homes. There have been reports of
Seneca Guns along the coasts in South Carolina and also in North Carolina and Virginia. In addition, there have been reports of such booms around Lake Seneca and Lake Cayuga in New York State. Some speculate this could be gas escaping from vents in the earth's surface, but no exact cause is known.

2/15/07 - OHIO Something happened at around 9 p.m. that a lot of people heard. But nobody seems to have any idea what it was. “It” was a loud bang, something loud enough to be heard all over the county, and loud enough to make small objects move in houses. Rumors range from an earthquake to a meteor strike, a sonic boom to something ice-related.
While we may never know for sure, at least one scientist believes the meteor could be the answer. There’s no evidence to suggest an earthquake could have caused the bang, especially not over the range specified. “The type of waves that I see is not earthquake-type stuff. What bothers me is we don’t see it anywhere else. Right now this is mysterious to me.” The National Weather Service’s station in Wilmington is equally lost, especially after hearing calls from the Cincinnati area. The only common factor is that each area was affected by Tuesday’s ice storm.
“It definitely wasn’t thunder. We’re kind of stumped on that ourselves.”
Not everyone agreed that it’s a meteor, however. Every contact one heard about the bang was writing from an area that got some layer of ice earlier this week. “I’m 100 percent certain that it’s ice. It’s only the areas that had a lot of ice. None have been from areas with just snow.” He did offer one idea, but not one that would explain the noise over such a large area. He described a phenomenon called a “frostquake,” in which water seeping into the ground and freezing can cause the earth to break up and create localized bangs.

2/4/07 - TEXAS - Galveston County residents from League City to Texas City to Jamaica Beach reported hearing what sounded like a series of short explosions during the weekend.
The sounds so worried some that the Texas City office of homeland security launched its own inquiry. “We started getting calls about 8 a.m. (Sunday, 2/4). We called all the plants, the Coast Guard, tried calling Ellington Field and can’t find where they came from.” The media liaison for the FBI said her agency had no reports of any unusual activity and said there were no drills or training exercises involving explosives taking place during the weekend. The blast came without warning and rattled windows up and down Bay Street in North Texas City. The Texas Office of the U.S. Geological Survey said there had been no recorded seismic events along the Gulf Coast this weekend. So what went boom? What could have shook homes from League City to Galveston’s beaches? They do know that they came from above.
“I can tell you to the exact minute ... I heard them” - the first boom was at 4:14 p.m. Sunday. With back-to-back booms at 5:12 p.m. and 5:14 p.m. as well. The booms were described as short, low-pitched bursts lasting only a few seconds. Given those descriptions, the most plausible explanation would appear to be the sonic boom made by a jet when it crosses the sound barrier. With Ellington Field close by, it wouldn’t be the first time jet fighters would have been blamed for creating a stir. But all of the Air National Guard’s planes were on the ground Sunday. A spokeswoman for the Houston Airport System said checks into the mysterious booms came up empty. [Scores of people all over the Midwest and Upper Midwestern United States reported seeing flames and fiery explosions in the sky Sunday night - probably meteorites, possibly connected to the booms. See 2/6 for the meteorite article.]

1/25/07 - MICHIGAN - residents in four counties said they heard loud booms and bangs Thursday night. Between 8:32p.m. and 11:30 p.m. residents called police, complaining about the "explosions." Many people were frightened by the noises, which some claimed sounded as if something had hit their homes. "One lady described it as sounding like someone was banging with both fists on her door." It is being explained as a possible weather phenomenon involving a drop in temperatures. Rapidly dropping temperatures could have created a stable layer in the atmosphere called a temperature inversion. That temperature inversion will trap sound waves close to the surface of Earth. Those sound waves, when dispersed, are forced to move horizontally from their source, instead of upward and horizontally.

1/24/07 - VIRGINIA - Some Giles County residents are a little shaken after a tremor-like event Wednesday night, others say they heard a loud "thunder-like" sound. Virginia Tech researchers say they received several calls about a meteor sighting the same time of the tremors. The BIZARRE incident took place around 8pm. Researchers say the seismic station in Giles County did get a very short but intense seismic signal.

1/10/07 - FLORIDA - newsrooms were flooded with calls from residents in Lee County who said they felt an earthquake just before 10am and again at 12:50pm on Wednesday the 10th. The USGS said there were no earthquakes that would have been felt in SW Florida."The doors were going boom, boom, boom. They actually shook and made noise." "It felt like a big explosion." Many people's dogs started barking. It may have been a sonic boom over the Gulf of Mexico.