No definite reason for house-shaking booms

  • Friday, January 10, 2014

Some people were awakened from a deep sleep while others - who were awake - had no idea what was going on when thunderous “booms” impacted the area in recent days.

On Wednesday morning, several people contacted the Georgetown Times asking about the exploding sounds.

“It shook our house here in the city limits of Georgetown,” Jeffrey Keith Michau wrote on the Georgetown Times Facebook page.

“I live in Graves Station and I felt my house shake but there was no sound whatsoever,” Jessica Flegel wrote.

“I am in Maryville and we had a boom to shake the house along with gunshot sounds. What is causing that to happen? Even the dogs are barking in the neighborhood and we are nervous,” wrote Altamese Reed.

It hasn’t just been in and around Georgetown. Residents in the Andrews area reported the booms.

What caused the blasts? That is something no one seems to know.

Georgetown County’s Emergency Management Coordinator, Cindy Grace, said 911 Central Dispatch did not receive any calls about the incidents.

Georgetown Police and the County Sheriff’s Office also knew of nothing that would have resulted in such booms.

There are theories being tossed about.

One is the possibility of Seneca Guns, which, according to the Untied States Geological Survey, refers to booms that have been heard on the shores of Lake Seneca and Lake Cayuga in New York State. The name has been applied to similar noises along the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Very little is known about the cause of Seneca Guns.

Another possibility is “frost quakes” which could have been caused by the subfreezing temperatures this week.

Discover explains frost quakes occur “when a warm spell allows rain or melting snow to seep into cracks and crannies in the ground. When a cold front suddenly hits that water quickly freezes. As it freezes, the water expands and outgrows its small underground space, cracking the frozen soil or bedrock around it to make room. The resulting boom can be frighteningly loud and even shake the ground, but the quakes are so localized that they rarely cause any noticeable damage.”

The bottom line is right now, no one knows for certain what caused the events.

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