Authorities Solve Mystery Of ‘Loud Boom’ Heard In Colorado, But Similar Noises Still Leave Scientists Stumped

The so-called “loud boom” that was reportedly heard on Monday in the town of Lochbuie, Colorado, has been getting a lot of attention this Thanksgiving week. Although local authorities appear to have figured out the source of this noise and the shaking that resulted, similar booming sounds have proven to be harder for scientists to figure out.

The incident in Lochbuie took place on Monday night at around 9 p.m., which was when residents first reported hearing the noise. According to the Denver Channel, the incident resulted in a flurry of social media activity, with some residents simply describing the loud boom as an explosion and others reporting that their houses and windows shook due to the noise.

According to BGR, the Lochbuie Police Department’s Facebook page was littered with posts from people who had their own explanations for the boom. Some social media users suggested an aircraft sonic boom, but this wouldn’t have been plausible, due to the lack of military aircraft in the town. Others thought that it might have been an earthquake or a similar jolt caused by fracking activity, while there were also some who took a more humorous look at things, suggesting that the explosion-like sound heralded an “alien invasion” in the making.

As it turned out, the loud noise heard in Lochbuie and select parts of nearby town Brighton was as far removed as you can get from an alien invasion or even an aircraft sonic boom. Instead, the loud boom appears to have been the result of an “overpressuring event,” according to Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission authorities who were cited by the Denver Channel.

Due to the pressure that mounted within an empty oil storage tank, the lid ended up flying off, which could have caused the boom to be heard on Monday night. Authorities added that there was no one hurt as a result of the incident, nor were there any fires, spills, or actual explosions that took place when the noise was heard.

Colorado authorities might have already gotten to the bottom of the loud boom in Lochbuie. But a report from the International Business Times noted that the incident hasn’t exactly been isolated, as 64 other booms were reported in different parts of the world since the start of the year. The noises have been given the moniker “Bama Boom,” and while many people have reported them to authorities, scientists aren’t quite sure as to what causes them.

Similar to the incident in Colorado, the loud boom heard in Alabama on November 14, hence the term “Bama Boom,” was attributed by some to an aircraft sonic boom. Another theory was that the noise was caused by a meteorite from the Leonid meteor shower, given the fact that this event peaks in November. According to NASA Meteoroid Environment Office head Bill Cooke, the boom might have originated from a supersonic aircraft, a ground explosion, or the landing of a bolide, a large meteor unrelated to the Leonid shower that explodes in the atmosphere.

Last month, Australians heard a pair of loud booms on separate occasions, with the first taking place on October 10 in Queensland and the second happening two weeks later over the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. Residents theorized that the former might have been caused by a meteorite, military plane, or gas bottle explosion, and that the latter could have been on account of a blue meteor passing across the sky at the same time the boom was heard.

“It just got bigger and bigger and it was just this big flash across the sky and there were sparks coming off it,” said Eyre Peninsula resident Lisa Watson.

With the above incidents in mind, NASA’s Cooke said that the space agency’s meteor scientists are hard at work as they continue trying to determine why so many loud booms have been heard this year.

[Featured Image by Michal Zduniak/Shutterstock]