Explosive booms heard across Southeastern North Carolina
- Explosive booms heard across Southeastern North Carolina
Dec 21, 2005, 03:55 PM EST
(New Hanover County) -- Thousands of people reported hearing a series of explosive "booms" all across New Hanover County and in some sections of Brunswick County late Tuesday afternoon.
Thoughts of the nuclear power plant exploding, an earthquake or a terrorist strike are just some of the theories that were tossed around after hearing the sounds.
We spoke with a geologist to get to the bottom of it, but most of the information is pointing towards some type of military exercise.
Lynne Denne heard it. "It was a series of kabooms. It was just like an explosion," she said.
The Medlin family and the Nagy family heard it, too.
Jackie Medlin said, "Yeah. I was scared. You see, we lived in New York when 9-11 went off so when you live through that once, you don't want to do that again."
Dalton Nagy said, "I was like, oh my gosh, is that like an earthquake or something."
Otis Nagy, Dalton's father, also heard the series of noises. "I sort of jerked and almost lost my balance, and I noticed it was lasting longer that the ones we had heard in the past," Mr. Nagy said.
Dalton saw the pictures on the wall shake. "I was kind of like worried because I felt the pictures and the mirror were about to fall on me because I was right between them," he said.
Dalton's mother describes what happened as she heard the loud booms.
"It was shaking that loud," Sharon Nagy said as she rattled her wine rack that sits against the wall in her dining room.
Lynne Denne says she ran outside when she and her neighbors heard the walls shake. "We were all looking around wondering if we could see smoke."
Everyone had thoughts about what it could be. "Definitely a plane crash, terrorists or the nuclear power plant," Jackie Medlin said.
We asked a Jonathan Lees, an Associate Professor of geophysics at UNC-Chapel Hill, his professional opinion.
"There are possibilities of earthquakes that occur off the coast, it could be a fault zone that are along the coast there and it could be something along the military bases out there. I'm very suspicious about the military theory," Mr. Lees said.
That suspicion may prove to be the best guess yet. The weather service reported seeing some military activity about 30 miles off shore at about 4:00 p.m. Tuesday and one viewer in Wrightsville Beach said she saw about nine military jets flying over head, but the Military is not confirming or denying any reports.
Families who heard the suspicious noises and felt like the earth shook beneath them say not knowing for sure what it was is very unsettling.
"That does worry me," said Sharon Nagy.
The continental shelf shifting -- an unstable piece of land off shore -- is another theory, but the geologist we spoke with says it's very unusual for loud explosive noises to go along with that or an earthquake for that matter.
Mr. Lees says a military explanation is the most likely explanation and the military jets flying overhead may fit with that suspicion.