Another Mystery Explosion Reported in Washington State
Residents of the Spokane area are reporting hearing a pair of explosions around 10 pm on Tuesday night. According to reports, the first explosion was modest in size, though ten minutes later, a more substantial explosion occurred, which some say was big enough to shake the windows in their homes.
Officials at nearby Fairchild Airforce Base say the explosions didn't come from them, nor was it a sonic boom from one of their jets. Instead, they offer that the sonic boom could have been created by a meteorite entering Earth's atmosphere. Residents as far away as Davenport also reported hearing the mystery booms.
Instances such as this aren't entirely new the the state of Washington.
In the morning hours of an early March day in 2022, a series of mysterious explosions around Orcas Island, in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, drew the attention of a group of retired seismologists; many of them former directors of national observatories.
A retired scientist named Tom Owens heard the distinct explosions and contacted his former colleagues at the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. Data they provided him with clearly showed a seismic event had occurred that morning when he heard and felt the explosions. The seismic network is not designed to record explosions in the atmosphere, but rather earthquakes and ground based explosions. However, an explosion in the atmosphere produces pressure waves. Those waves spread out at the speed of sound in the air, and when they hit a structure, they shake the sensor in the ground and the signal will be produced.
Steve Malone, the now retired manager of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, was able to show that the source of the sound emanated not far from Tom Owens house on Orcas Island. At this point, he reached out to a team of scientists overseeing a monitoring station on Mount Rainier. Those stations are intended to detect lahar's, pyroclastic flows which have reached to just outside of Prosser, Washington in the distant past. Though surprised, those scientists confirmed that a clear signal came from the north, well over one hundred miles away.
This was quite surprising, considering the first signal detected near Orcas Island was fading after just 25 miles, though seems quite distinct at Rainier. Thanks to social media, the group of scientists were able to secure footage caught on a doorbell camera that showed a fireball in the air. Confusingly, that fireball was 15 minutes before the recorded explosions happened.
Meteorites, as well as space junk and satellites, returning to Earth's orbit can all cause explosions and sonic booms. In this instance, there could have been numerous portions of a space rock exploding at different intervals as they entered the atmosphere, though scientists aren't certain.
This most recent event outside of Spokane has yet to have any witnesses come forward with footage of what might have been a meteorite causing the explosion. Regardless, the mystery continues.