Just after 2:30 p.m.today, a Scioto County Sheriff’s deputy heard and felt “an explosion” in his vicinity. He immediately contacted dispatch and informed them of a potential situation in the area. After a few minutes of searching, he asked dispatch to contact Pike County to see if they were aware of any issues since he was fairly close to the county line.
Pike County informed Scioto County that they had also heard and felt the “explosion”. They further stated that the impact was felt within their call center.
Fearing a potential threat to our subscribers, we immediately sent out a brief notification. Within minutes, it was clear to all this event was larger than anyone had expected. Within an hour, people from all over our coverage area shared similar stories of their homes being shaken and being quite disturbed by the event.
In all, witness accounts cover a territory including portions of five counties. Scioto, Pike, Jackson, Lawrence, and Vinton county residents all responded with their personal accounts.
The Scioto County Sheriff’s deputy, who first called in the event, spent some time trying to locate its origin. Pike County authorities did the same and reports of Jackson County looking into the matter were obtained. People shopping at the Walmart in Waverly as well as in Jackson all heard and felt the unexplained tremor and sound. A shopper from the Waverly Walmart gave this account, “I thought the ceiling was going to cave in while I was shopping at Walmart in Waverly” One person in Northern Scioto County said, “It shook my house and I looked out in the field thinking a plane had crashed or something”.
Here are some additional testimonials submitted by our subscribers.
“We were on the deck it felt like the deck moved. Way louder than any sonic boom.”
“Heard it out St.Rt. 348 between Northwest School and Otway!! Wow”
“I heard and felt it in the Burg. It shook my house it was loud. I was worried it was some kind of explosion.”
“Heard in Minford. Thought something might have happened at Cox Gas or something.”
“I thought something landed on my house. It shook the house. I freaked out”
No firm answers have been given. Plenty of theories have been floated including underground mining, a sonic boom, gravel blasts, Blowing up underground tunnels, as well as a person who apologized for eating too many beans and cornbread last night.
With the help of some experts, we’ve been able to narrow this down to a couple of reasonable and scientifically sound explanations.
First, a cluster sonic boom: one subscriber gave us this detailed explanation. “The width of a sonic boom ends up being about one mile for every 1,000 feet of altitude, so an aircraft flying at 50,000 feet would produce a sonic boom cone about 50 miles wide. A couple of Military jets F-16, F-17 F-35, etc can produce quite the effect.”
This theory is the same working principle the Scioto County EMA has, generally, accepted.
Second, a “Frost Quake”: Although it does have a strange-sounding name, these have been documented across the country and the world for many years.
Technically, they are called a “cryo-seismic boom”. This happens when the water underground freezes and expands much like an ice cube. This expansion moves the bedrock and creates a near-perfect simulation of an earthquake. The difference being the shifting rock underground is much closer to the surface.
Both of these theories match up with thousands of people heard and felt today.
With the coming Polar Vortex and regular flight exercises from Wright-Patterson and Toledo, it is safe to assume this will not be a singular event. The good news is that the next time this happens we will be more informed and hopefully families and children will not be so scared.
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