Home > Strange Events > Loud booms reported in southwestern Ohio and Indiana

Loud booms reported in southwestern Ohio and Indiana

February 12, 2011

Many people this morning were awakened to the sound of a loud boom and shaking of their homes across southwestern Ohio and parts of Indiana.  Several reports were made to the Darke County Sheriff’s office, and others have commented that it was heard and felt in Xenia, Beavercreek, and Fairborn.  The sounds reported vary from around midnight to around 7:30 am, many people saying that it felt and sounded as though something had hit their house.

According to the DCS, earthquakes, blown transformers, gas explosions, and sonic booms from jets have all been ruled out, and they are coordinating with the Ohio Emergency Management to try to find an explanation for the boom.  Geological experts in Columbus, along with various departments in Indiana, are working hard as well to get to the bottom of this mystery.

There has also been one report of a bright blue flash being seen going across the sky from Arcanum at approximately 4:45 am.  Are the two related?  I think so.

In March of 2007, an article about almost the exact same cirumstances states the following:

Something happened at around 9 p.m. Wednesday that a lot of people heard.

But nobody seems to have any idea what it was.

What it was, though, might forever remain a mystery.

It was a loud bang, something loud enough to be heard across southern and central Ohio, and loud enough to make small objects move in houses. Reports have rolled into The Advocate from Hanover to Heath, from Buckeye Lake to Granville, and NBC4 heard reports from Muskingum, Fairfield and Pickaway counties.

Rumors range from an earthquake to a meteor strike, a sonic boom to something ice-related.

Was it simply falling ice? That’s what many, including NBC4’s Jym Ganahl, believe. But many also went outside to check because it sounded like their houses had been hit.

A few things have been eliminated. Instruments show it wasn’t an earthquake.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base told NBC4 that it didn’t have any flights in the area, and North American Aerospace Defense Command said it knew of nothing man-made entering the atmosphere. NORAD did report a flight of National Guard jets out of Toledo over southern Ohio, but it was not fast enough to break the sound barrier and create a sonic boom.

While we may never know for sure, at least one scientist believes the meteor could be the answer.

Two things that have had a major increase in recent months are meteor sitings and UFO sitings.  Are the two related?  And if so, will we be made aware of what the actual cause of these mysterious shaking booms really are?  Only time will tell, and several people are wondering if either one or both of these phenomena are the cause for what they felt and seen this morning.

There are many similarities between the two incidents.  The 2007 incident was chalked up to most likely being a meteor.  Was this recent incident caused by meteors as well?  It is possible, but another possibility looks very “bright”, and that is something else mentioned in the 2007 article:  Frostquake.

“It wasn’t like thunder rumbling,” Hoover said. “I felt this. It actually shook the ground.” When he reported to work he discovered even more people had heard the noise.

“It seems to have been heard all over Muskingum County and into South Zanesville and then into Licking County,” Hoover said. “I heard some people reported hearing it at about 6:30 and then 7:30 in the morning. We just can’t attribute it to anything.”

The National Weather Service’s station in Wilmington is equally lost, especially after hearing calls from the Cincinnati area. The only common factor is that each area was affected by Tuesday’s ice storm.

Hansen did offer one idea. He described a phenomenon called a “frostquake,” in which water seeping into the ground and freezing can cause the earth to break up and create localized bangs.


And now here we see another huge common factor between both incidents: a recent ice storm.

Frostquakes, also known as Cryoseisms, are often mistaken for minor or intraplate earthquakes.  * “Although the outward signs often appear similar to those of an earthquake, with tremors, vibrations, ground cracking and related noises such as thundering or booming sounds, cryoseisms can be distinguished from earthquakes through meteorological and geological conditions.  Cryoseisms can have an intensity of up to VI on the Modified Mercalli Scale.  Furthermore, cryoseisms often exhibit high intensity in a very localized area,  in the immediate proximity of the epicenter, as compared to the widespread effects of an earthquake.  Due to lower frequency vibrations than earthquakes, some seismic monitoring stations may not record their occurrence.

Another form of cryoseism known as an ice quake, is a non tectonic seismic event caused by sudden glacial movements, sometimes due to the formation of a thin veneer of liquid water under a glacier from surface melting. Usually, a glacier would stick to the rough bedrock, but the hydraulic pressure acts as a lubricant, allowing it to slide up to many metres at once.  This type of cryoseism can last for tens of minutes.

Cryoseisms typically occur when temperatures rapidly decrease from above freezing to subzero, in the first cold snap of spring. They usually occur between midnight and dawn, during the coldest part of the night.”

It seems to me that this would be the mostly cause for both events, except for one thing:  the siting of a bright flash moving across the sky in both incidences.  Was this coincidence?  Perhaps the light was something blowing due to damage caused by a frostquake, powerful enough to cause localized damage but not enough to be picked up by seismic monitoring?  Doesn’t sound so much like a mystery anymore.

If you are in Ohio or Indiana and felt, heard, or seen anything strange this morning, please leave a comment or report it to your local sheriff’s office.  Updates will follow as they occur.

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  1. November 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    11/24/2012 6:30 pm Yorktown, IN. 2 loud booms. Local paper reported it the next day as there were many 911 calls.

  2. jake
    April 13, 2012 at 4:14 am

    I live in grove city and I heard a loud boom that shook the apartment complex I work in followed by a bright blue flash a few hours ago, I thought it was thunder at first but I checked the local radar and the skies are clear. Creepy.

  3. shane
    March 23, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    tonight around 930 the house shook to a loud boom. Our 11 yr old son got spooked because he said that someone hit the house. My wife and I retired to bed and watched some tv. Around 1100 pm there was another loud bang. We both said it sounded like an explosion. Then I remember either wowo radio or npr radio reporting that the sonic booms were actually earthquakes. After reading your post, I am not so sure now.

  4. tattoolizard82
    February 11, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    I woke up this morning at 330 to a loud bang and my house shaking. Five minutes later, it happened two more times, but not as loud. 345 it happened for the last time. I asked others at work and nobody else felt or heard anything. I’m just trying to figure out what it was.

    • tattoolizard82
      February 11, 2012 at 8:22 pm

      I live in Madison, Indiana.

  5. Laura Nethers
    May 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    I heard 2 loud booms today right around 1PM. The first one was so loud that when I went outside to see what was going on it hurt my ears. The second one a minute or so later was not as loud. They both lasted for 10 seconds or longer. I didn’t see anything in the sky, which was very cloudy.

    • May 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      What city did you hear the loud booms in? There was a similar report just like yours in Philadelphia.

  6. Detrie
    February 12, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I heard it about 6:45 a.m. It sounded like something hit the north side of the house. I wrote it off as ice falling from the roof. It was loud enough to make me ask my husband, “What was that?”

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