Mystery Booms in Virginia Rattled Windows, Residents Say

A series of strange, pulsing booms were reported on Wednesday morning near the towns of Dinwiddie, Chesterfield, Prince George, and other communities in Eastern Virginia.

Locals described that the noises as constant booms that began shortly after 8 AM, which continued for ten minutes.

Area news WTVR reported on the incident, stating that many thought the noises had been an earthquake, with several reports of vibrations that shook windows. Three months ago, a 2.8 M earthquake occurred near Charlottesville, Virginia; however, the USGS reported no quakes on June 10 that might have accompanied the booms.

As is often the case with such reports, some residents wondered if military activity nearby could have been the cause, though some said the noises were different from activity commonly associated with nearby Fort Pickett, as WTVR reported:

Those who heard the loud and constant noise have no clue what it was. But one man does not what it was not military activity.

“I’m used to hearing Fort Pickett from time to time, [but] his is nothing like it,” said Britton.

At present, police departments in Dinwiddie who received calls about the noise have been unable to determine their cause.

Booms reported along the eastern U.S. have been widely reported in the past, with many sources in scientific literature citing sonic booms from aircraft traveling over the nearby coastline as a possible cause. During the late 1970s, booms caused by Concorde jets off the eastern coast had been determined as the most likely cause of a wave of booms reported between 1977 and 1978, although meteorologists felt that some of the noises had been the possible result of upper atmospheric storms.

Some literature does support connections with small earthquakes, as has been reported with booms that have occurred in South Carolina as far back as the late 1800s. However, in many cases no seismic activity is documented coinciding with the times booms have been reported, which does suggest the likelihood of an atmospheric origin, or perhaps one that originates from aircraft.