22 Mar 2012

A resident is asking questions about the booms at a public meeting on March 21st  Credit:  AP/The-Post-Crescent, Ron Page
A resident is asking questions about the booms at a public meeting on March 21st Credit: AP/The-Post-Crescent, Ron Page

-Clintonville, Wisconsin
"Business is booming", literally in Wisconsin.  Recently on Sunday, March 18th five mysterious booms were rumbling the town every two hours, beginning around 8 p.m.  The sounds have continued every night through Wednesday.

Naturally the police received 100 concerned calls from citizens in Clintonville.  They investigated but found nothing.  No one has reported any gas or sewer explosions, nor any landslides.  There weren't any military exercises or explosions in the area either.  One guess was that it was sonic booms or some other type of in-ground disruption, like an earthquake, but no earthquakes were recorded.  Some think this is the work of pranksters.   

Tracking Down the Sounds

You might think to track down the sounds would be an easy task but it can be more complicated than it would seem.  From the laws of physics, sound travels in waves, identifying the source can be very hard, especially in areas with concrete and glass buildings, where sound can be reflected and change.

Ultimately the best way to isolate the source, is through the use of a dozen or more finely tuned audio recorders on a grid throughout the town.  If another boom occurs, scientists can use the data and isolate the location of the sound.

The Tech-Stew Take Home

We've discussed strange sounds heard world-wide in one of our previous podcasts, so this just seems to be one more of those types of sounds.  In some cases, the odd sounds that are being heard can be isolated as a hoax or natural event, though many remain unexplained.  Some try to point the source as being the HAARP facility in Alaska which is doing radio frequency tests in high Earth altitudes.  However, the simplest explanation is often the best one.  Perhaps, the sound is coming from the Earth due to the sudden change in temperature and the ground is thawing rapidly.  Or we could just assume aliens are on their way, someone get Will Smith, fast.


The U.S. Geological Survey has determined that the residents of Clintonville experienced an earthquake of a 1.5 magnitude.  It was registered Tuesday night by mobile earthquake monitoring stations that were put in place to determine what was going on.  The USGS believes the shaking and sounds were the result of "a swarm of several small earthquakes in a very short amount of time," said city administrator Lisa Kuss.  Normally such an earthquake would go unnoticed, but because Wisconsin sits on a type of rock that transmits seismic energy well, they were amplified.

There has been recent evidence to suggest that fracking can cause earthquakes.  I ask the question as to whether there is any fracking going on in this region.  Fracking has not been suggested as a cause of this particular incident thus far, however.

Source:  csmonitor.com, usatoday.com

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