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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The booms are back.

Around 10 a.m. Tuesday, reports came spilling in from around the Cape Fear of loud noises and shaking. For years, the mysterious booms have confused residents who not only want to know what’s happening but why.

Some people reported hearing a loud noise while others say they just felt the ground shaking.

The United States Geological Survey says in areas in North Carolina from as far south as Ash in Brunswick County north to Havelock, people felt a weak to light rumble.

We reached out to the USGS office in Memphis that monitors our area. Seismologist Oliver Boyd says nothing registered on the Richter Scale. So what could it have been?

One post on our website said it felt like a surface earthquake like one experienced in California. Boyd says the minimum magnitude that is registered on the scale is between 1.5 and 2. He says if an earthquake is less than that magnitude, it would not be felt.

There was a small earthquake in Virginia early Tuesday morning. Boyd said Wilmington is too far away from the quake to have felt an aftershock.

We also asked if there was any activity in the ocean that could have registered on the coast. Boyd said they had nothing to report.

So is there an answer?

Boyd says we need to figure out if the booms are coming from the earth or the atmosphere which could be determined by putting seismometers into the ground.

There are many theories about what causes this rocking and rolling. But the answers continues to escape scientists.


Comment on this Story


    I am near the OI Rec. Center. Someone would have to be knocking on my door with a Howitzer to shake the house like that!

  • Katie F.

    I was in my house on the island in Surf City and we’ve experienced high winds before but nothing that shook the house like this. It was a hard shaking for about 15 seconds or so. I was afraid we were having an earthquake.

  • Guest3455544

    I heard/felt it around 10:03 and 10:05 this morning.. The same time I was listening to a local station and the signal went down to nearly nothing.. This is the first time this has ever happened.. Explain why it occurred after the booms?? Could it have been atmospheric?? or What??

  • Boom Boom

    I read that similar “booms” occur off the coast of Chile in S. America. The local government there did a study and found that there are occasional pockets of air over the ocean that collect together and then dissipate suddenly, causing the “boom” noise. It is kind of like when you pop a balloon. But, the article said the scientists can’t determine what causes these pockets of air to form. I guess none of our scientists can figure out what is going on either.

  • Guestearea

    Sounded like sonic booms to me. Ive lived in an area where I heard them often.

  • SGuest

    LOL, when people say it’s the Seneca Guns it makes me chuckle. The Seneca Indians sure are a bad shot, as nothing has ever hit shore! And for a lady whom I used to work with, who insisted it was the shifting of the continental shelf…I say, If you hear something THIS BIG, you better run for your life, because it would cause a sunami such as the world has never seen! LOL. Can you say Sonic Boom? Who cares if the jets break the speed of sound? If you listen closely after a big boom, you can hear jets :o) I heard 2 of them this morning (2/28/12) at 10am, which woke me up. 2 more at about 10 minutes till noon.

  • WaterBoy

    I’ve heard them for years here in Carolina Beach. IT seems they happen every year, early, early spring (now)…when a somewhat of a warm front moves across the region and out into the ocean. Could be warm air, meeting air that exist above the cooler ocean air. Just my thoughts.

  • Guest2020

    I’m in Shallotte and about 11:30 there was an extremely loud bang and the whole house shook. I’ve experienced the Seneca Guns before, but this is by far the heaviest.

  • c.schwarzmann

    same here….in oki felt it too..thought someone was banging on my door at first!

  • Leo

    Heard/felt these this morning in Supply. No seismic activity reported so it must have been sonic booms. The military probably won’t confirm this as it is a big no-no to cause these over populated areas. I think a couple of hot dog pilots.

  • The Famous Mr. P.

    Yeah, it was the earth shattering bass from my kick drums.

  • pkboerema

    We were on Oak Island. First one was loud “boom” followed by house shaking like it was being hit. Then again a few seconds later but not as severe. It happened again over an hour later and then a fourth time about 10 minutes after that.

  • Maybe something happened at Sunny Point, in which case you will never receive an explanation.

  • Brian Smith

    God’s breakfast disagreed with him.

  • Guest Lee

    Aren’t “Seneca Guns” just another offspring idea of a parallel universe?

  • lookout

    I was on a steel building near market st felt tremor twice first time lasted about 3 seconds 2nd time lasted about 20 now after all tbe crazy storiez i have heard i am not sure what to think so i will ad one of my own maybe iran tested a nuke duh!

  • ghosts

    Again the wonderful local news has me laughing reporting that it was the “Seneca Guns,” ghosts of an Indian tribe making my house shake using their guns. I hope Iran does not get into communication with the ghosts or we are all in trouble because the sound and the shake that was felt it must have been an Atomic bomb. Someone call the government, we need to inspect the ghosts and place.

  • Peyton Garrett

    I thought it was Ben McCoy’s Mouth going off. Much like this Morning, it goes off and shakes a little but It does no damage and serves no purpose. An anomoly.

  • Austin642

    I go to south brunswick high and have hearing them off and on since 9 this morning the initial boom was the strongest it shook our whole building

  • Ann

    We are in a metal building and it sounded like someone had picked it up and dropped it a few times! Know how that dumpster sounds when they drop it–this was 10 times worse!!

  • sarah

    there was a 1.8 magnitude quake in VA this am… so somebody needs to figure out if it was the “guns”, a tremor, the breaking of the sound barrier down on base in jacksonville, or what…. theres NO news about it. thanks.

  • Georgia

    In Evans, GA we had shaking and a loud boom here at about 10:30 a.m. this morning also….strange since we are about 300 miles apart, huh?!

  • guest 70

    Felt it here in Shallotte just now. Large boom and building shook.

  • Ronald

    I am from California and it sure felt like a surface quake which happen really quick.

  • billy earl

    i felt it here in burgaw. definatley stronger than the one we had here a few months ago. shook things in this steel building i have never heard shake before in almost 2 years of being here

  • pistei

    heard it again also down here at town creek just above winnabow. but i was outside. did not feel it and it seemed less that the first (which was (2 2 second ones about 1 second apart)

    the second seemed like a sonic boom. but the first 2 shook the house. but since i was in different places, i can’t compare them. for all i know, this one might have shook the house also.

  • ckochen

    It would be nice for the goverment to let us know what is going on for our safety. my whole house shook this morning an this ghost stuff is alot of crap. whats going on at the military bases is what I have to ask.

  • mshellpugh

    we live in burgaw and around our house just started shacking and my neighbors to what just happened?

  • uncwgirl

    Heard two large booms and felt strong shaking in my office across from Mayfaire in Wilmington, NC.

  • Kimma

    Just after 10:00am this morning it felt like someone fell on our roof and then I heard sheetrock dust falling in the wall. I thought someone was on my roof or in my attic but no one was around.

  • Dennis Dohrman
  • Guest12345

    felt/heard again larger than the 1st on 11;40ish

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