WHAT’S THAT? Mysterious booms shake Tucson area again

Davis-Monthan spokesman says they’re not responsible for latest in long line of incidents
David Arnold captured the boom reported on his home security camera.
Updated: Dec. 29, 2020 at 4:29 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - They’re back!

People from across the Tucson area reported hearing a series of booms and feeling the ground shake around 10:40 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29.

Most of the KOLD News 13 viewers who called said they heard three loud booms followed by the ground shaking. The cause could be anything from sonic booms, an earthquake or blasting at one of our area mines.

An assistant professor from the University of Arizona’s Department of Geosciences said a seismometer detected the event and that is was probably not an earthquake.

“The event was definitely recorded,” said Eric Kiser. “It doesn’t have the characteristics of an earthquake and was probably either a blast or sonic boom.”

The USGS has a live map that shows all earthquakes above 2.5+, As of 3 p.m., nothing was marked for Arizona. To see their map, CLICK HERE.

Below is a readout from the seismometer.

A seismometer at the University of Arizona recorded the booms heard across the Tucson area on...
A seismometer at the University of Arizona recorded the booms heard across the Tucson area on Tuesday, Dec. 29.(University of Arizona)

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base said it wasn’t responsible. KOLD also called Luke AFB, and they are checking now.

“We are aware of the reported loud boom in Tucson this morning, but we did not have any aircraft capable of breaking the sound barrier flying at that time,” said a D-M spokesperson.

A person at ASARCO’s Silver Bell Mine said they were not doing any blasting at that time of day and even felt the shaking out at their facility, which is on Avra Valley Road in Marana.

We are working to contact the other mines in southern Arizona.

This isn’t the first time KOLD has investigated reports like this.

In 2019, we experienced similar incidents from January to March. We never got a straight answer, but the shaking was strong enough to be picked up by the UA seismometer. To read more about those incidents, CLICK HERE.

In 2017, Luke Air Force Base said booms reported then may have been caused by a training exercise. To read more about that incident, CLICK HERE.

There were also reports of booms in 2013. Officials from Luke AFB confirmed that it was caused by an F-16 flying training missions in the Sells area. To read more about that incident, CLICK HERE.

Copyright 2020 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.