Mystery booms of Idaho explosively explained

In the leftovers of 29 December, we posted a link to a story about mystery booms in Idaho. Another mysterious explosion heard in Bingham County; residents in Riverside say boom shook their homes

This has now apparently been solved; it was exploding targets.

Bingham County Sheriff: Exploding targets are source of mystery “booms”

Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland reports that officials believe exploding targets are the source of the two loud explosions heard in the county during the past week.

The targets were on sale, sold in 20 lbs buckets and make for a powerful explosion when shot. It’s often very difficult to trace such events that cause community disruptions unless someone comes forward to admit they did it. There is no word how the sheriff tracked this down but it’s a very plausible explanation as tannerite explosions are somewhat common, if rather annoying and disruptive.

  4 comments for “Mystery booms of Idaho explosively explained

  1. Rand
    January 1, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    I’m having difficulty understanding why anyone beyond Jr high would desire an `exploding target`? Of what possible practical use could such a thing be? And why would such an obvious nusiance (which clearly has no use outside of annoying the neighbors or terrorism) be legal without an explosives permit?

    can anyone enlighten me?

  2. Ryan
    January 1, 2015 at 11:53 AM

    They don’t have a practical purpose, they’re just for fun. I also don’t necessarily see why they would need a practical purpose, all sorts of dangerous and useless but fun things are legal or available precisely because people want them. As for legality it would vary by jurisdiction. But presumably exploding targets fall under whatever state and federal statues control the explosives they’re made of. But they aren’t for the most part “high” explosives, or the destructive sort of explosives one can cause serious damage with. They’re basically fireworks, or equivalent to special effects pyrotechnics. Lots of light/fire balls big noise, low destructive power. So depending on municipality and what they’re made of they may be banned, or require permitting, or not. And as they’re intended to used as fire arms targets they’re legally restricted to places you can legally fire your guns, at least by default if not specifically. Fire arms use is usually restricted to defined fire arms ranges, hunting areas, or private lands that are a defined distance from roads and inhabited buildings/areas. I believe its 500 yards where I’m at, which honestly seems a little close to me.

    That said 20lbs seems a little big, its entirely possible whoever was doing this was shooting too close to a residential area as well. But given that Idaho can be pretty empty, and these things are designed primarily to be loud, it wouldn’t surprise me if the noise had simply traveled from a safe and legal shooting area.

  3. Headless Unicorn Guy
    January 2, 2015 at 12:27 PM

    Just search YouTube, keyword “Tannerite”.

    It’s the same appeal as watching Mythbusters: “WE GET TO BLOW THINGS UP!”

  4. Charles Miller
    January 2, 2015 at 10:00 PM

    It’s common for small police departments to offer quick and improbable “solutions” for otherwise inexplicable phenomena such as “mystery booms”… These typically rural law enforcement agencies don’t have the resources or manpower to conduct comprehensive investigations; so, they simply announce that the mystery is solved and attribute the earth-shaking phenomena to “pranksters”… Case closed, right? Of course, an “exploding target” could never rattle homes and residents some 20 miles removed from one another.

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