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USAF says window-shaking booms were B-52s dropping ordnance, more to come

By Andrew Adams  |  Posted Jan 9th, 2013 @ 5:59pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Mission accomplished? The mystery of the loud booms that rattled Davis and Weber counties appears to have been solved: B-52s from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., dropping ordinance on the Utah Test and Training Range.

"Aircraft noises, explosions and other military operations conducted on the UTTR can sometimes be heard on the East side of the Great Salt Lake," Hill Air Force Base spokesman George Jozens said in a statement Wednesday.

"If weather conditions are just right, sound will carry, ricochet and even be amplified and travels many miles. Barksdale's B-52s were dropping ordnance during training about 9 p.m. last night directly West of the southern part of the Great Salt Lake on the UTTR."

The statement said the training exercises at the UTTR would continue Wednesday night.

Seismologists at the University of Utah had been baffled about the source of the loud noises, which registered on their sensory equipment.

"We don't really know what this was," said research seismologist Katherine Whidden. "We don't have the operational capability to even locate something like this, so we can't say where it came from. We just don't know."

The scientists had pinpointed the phenomenon as a likely "atmospheric event" and not an earthquake.

Residents from Bountiful to West Point and beyond reported hearing multiple loud booms, and even seeing their windows rattle. They guessed the booms were caused by anything from a snow plow to an oil refinery.

"Living around where we do here in Woods Cross, it's not uncommon to hear this stuff," said Jake Keith. "We didn't know what it was but it shook our house and our windows and that was about the extent of it."

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