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More mysterious rumbles reported in Tucson area

The booms have been described like an earthquake but don’t register as one on the seismometer...
The booms have been described like an earthquake but don’t register as one on the seismometer at the University of Arizona College of Geosciences.(University of Arizona College of Geosciences)
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 11:37 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Another rumble could be felt across the Tucson metro on Monday afternoon, Jan. 24.

People from as far southeast as Vail to as far north as the town of Oracle reported the boom. That’s about a 65-mile range. Residents say they felt two of them right around 1:15 p.m.

Linda Marie wrote on my Facebook page, “It sounded like something fell on my roof. It rattled my house.”

Sharon Richardson Spall left a message, “Yes! I heard it and it sounded like a boom and it seemed like the top floor of my house shook. It also happened sometime last week. Maybe Friday? I am near Greasewood and Starr Pass.”

These mystery booms have been happening for years. They’ve been described by many like an earthquake but don’t register as one on the seismometer at the University of Arizona College of Geosciences. That’s the case with Monday’s boom.

Susan Beck, professor and director of Graduate Program at the Department of Geosciences tells me, “The start of the signal is today at 1:15 pm. There are two signals but the one at ~376 seconds is probably what most people found as it rolled through Tucson. It does not look like a typical earthquake, so I would lean toward a sonic boom of some sort. The signal at ~356 seconds (more of a shorter duration spike) might be a mine blast but again with one station it is difficult to tell for sure.”

I reached out to our local military installations. Davis-Monthan Air Force base says none of their aircraft produced a sonic boom Monday afternoon.

Tanja M. Linton, Media Relations at Ft. Huachuca said, “the Air Force Thunderbirds arrived here from New Mexico for two weeks of training (but) there were no sonic booms as supersonic flight is prohibited in this airspace. What they likely heard was a little afterburner as we did a site survey upon arrival.”

I’ve reached out to the media relations for the Thunderbirds to see if they could’ve created a sonic boom Monday and haven’t heard back. Considering the rumbles were felt strongly so far north that doesn’t seem feasible at this point.

Luke Air Force Base is checking but says at this time they are not aware of any of their aircraft, which usually fly west of Tucson over the Barry Goldwater Range, producing a sonic boom. I’ve also got calls into ASARCO Mining to check on any potential blasting operations, but, again, those mining explosives wouldn’t be felt so far away.

As of now, the mystery continues. If you’ve never felt or heard one of these rumbles/booms, here’s an example of one caught on a home surveillance camera back in 2019 - https://bit.ly/3KECoMO.

NOTE: Explosives Ordnance Disposal squads will be performing explosives testing at their range on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm on Tuesday, Jan. 25.

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