Did you hear that? Weekend "explosion" & "jet engine noises" a mystery


What was that noise? We've had lots of calls, emails and Facebook posts from you into the WSBT 22 newsroom after reports of loud, explosion-type noises in our area Saturday night. But scientists we spoke with are baffled about what caused them.

People from Warsaw and even into Central Indiana to Nappanee, South Bend and as far north as Muskegon reported feeling and hearing it. Some even said they saw a flash of light in the sky.

"It shook the house, shook this room," said Emanuel Reese who was sitting in his enclosed front porch in Plymouth when he heard the first strange noise Saturday afternoon.

"I heard a big boom. And they're doing so much construction around here, I thought it might have been a dump truck with the hatch closing or the lid closing but it was too intense and I felt it," he said.

Later that night, it happened again.

"I didn't think anything of it. Nothing exploded, no sirens, so I figured everything was OK then I saw it on Facebook and everyone else in surrounding areas heard it too," Reese added.

Dispatchers at South Bend's 911 center told a South Bend Tribune reporter the noises in St. Joseph County were from railroad work. But spokesmen for Canadian National and Norfolk Southern told WSBT 22 Monday their crews were not working in our area Saturday.

According to IU South Bend geology professor Henry Scott, the United States Geological Survey hasn't registered any type of earthquake activity in Indiana or any of its neighboring states in the past 30 days. Even if it did, Scott said, humans probably would not be able to hear it because those frequencies are so far underground.

Some local scientists believe a large meteor shower that peaked around 9 p.m. Saturday may be the culprit, but Penn Harris Madison astronomy instructor Art Klinger says he's skeptical.

"A larger rock coming in, a stray asteroid going across the sky could have very easily produced a sound like that," Klinger said, noting he doesn't believe that's what happened.

Klinger said he was home when he heard two loud 'booms' just after 9 Saturday night and even looked out the window after the second one, but didn't think much of it at the time because he couldn't see anything.

Even though a few people near Warsaw reported seeing a flash in the sky, Klinger said it was cloudy at the time, which makes the meteor theory difficult to prove.

Another explanation Klinger and some area physicists suggest is a sonic boom, when an object travels faster than the speed of sound. A spokesman from Grissom Air Force Base told WSBT 22 they don't have aircraft that go that fast and were not testing or flying any type of jet that could break the sound barrier Saturday evening.

Klinger also said he's heard sonic booms before and this sounded different.

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