Key information on source of mystery booms around the world: sound travel is weird

Scientists admit that loud explosions can be heard at astounding distances under certain conditions. This sounds like the key to many mystery booms around the world that appear to have no local source.

The source of the “mystery booms” heard throughout California’s eastern edge with Nevada have been sourced to a military location. But it was a surprise that they can be heard over 100 miles away but NOT 23 miles away.

Source: Scientists puzzled over distance traveled by ‘mystery booms’

Four sensors placed by the SMU team in Nevada and California record regular explosions from the Hawthorne Army Depot, which destroys obsolete munitions on most weekdays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m in a remote section of the sprawling desert compound.

 

Researchers at Southern Methodist University (SMU) were surprised when they realized that they could hear the sounds from Hawthorne by themselves all the way to Columbia College near Sonora, which is approx 150 kilometers away. (roughly 93 miles)

There’s no definite answer yet as to why the sounds from Hawthorne can travel that far and still be audible to the human ear but they believe it might be due to high altitude winds during the summer. This could explain why the sounds are only reported during the summer months. Therefore, certain conditions help propagate the sound.

As I’ve explained before, there are times when I experience artillery exercises many miles away that seem to shake the house and make the dog bark. But not always when they are occurring.

We covered dozens of stories about mystery booms over the years here at DN. They sometimes have clearly identifiable or rather plausible explanations. Now, we can also say that the source may be too far away to pinpoint. But it’s NOT end times or worth worrying about. It’s just the normal noises, traveling a mysterious route.

  2 comments for “Key information on source of mystery booms around the world: sound travel is weird

  1. Sk3ptik0
    July 31, 2015 at 9:38 PM

    I was an artillery officer in my early 20’s and naturally we’d hear artillery sounds all the time. They were far away, the range was, but we could hear them clearly having lunch in the officer mess. .

    I’ll never forget when this Colonel, an artillery colonel, stood up and commented about the weird weather “The sky is clear, yet listen to that thunder”. Idiot. He was so far removed from the field he couldn’t tell apart thunder from an artillery barrage.
    Trust me, they sound different. Especially when you are right there.

  2. Blargh
    August 1, 2015 at 6:27 AM

    There’s no definite answer yet as to why the sounds from Hawthorne can travel that far and still be audible to the human ear but they believe it might be due to high altitude winds during the summer.

    Atmospheric focusing?

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