Scientist says research of mysterious booms at a standstill

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A series of mysterious booms over the weekend has some folks in the Cape Fear a little rattled, but they’re nothing new.

It’s been ten years since former Duke University professor Peter Malin started searching for an answer as to what exactly is causing the booms.

“It’s one of those controversies that’s been going on for more than a century now, and what one wants is solid evidence not hearsay,” Malin said. “I don’t think my opinion would weigh any more than the hundreds of people that have heard them, or thousands of people that have heard them at this point, until there was actually some hard record of where one particular event that everybody heard was coming from.”

Malin, who now works in New Zealand, invested his time and money into building an observation well at Fort Fisher. A cable runs down through the well, and the equipment can tell if the booms are coming from the air or the ground. But there’s one problem: there’s no recording device to document the booms.

“Whether or not they’re coming from the ground or whether they’re coming from the air, it makes an enormous difference in providing a natural explanation for them,” Malin said. “If they’re coming from the ground, it’s indicative of some kind of very small earthquake activity or ground motion. If they’re coming from the air, they’re indicative of something completely different in terms of whether it’s cloud physics or sheet lightning or these kinds of things that would be enormously useful to determine these. They’re actually a very interesting scientific phenomena.”

Malin didn’t get enough interest or financial support, so a recording device was never purchased. He says his research has been inconclusive, but says if anyone wants to pick up where he left off on his project, he would gladly approve.

Categories: New Hanover

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