White Mountain Independent
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 00:50 UTC
Though people now are saying they heard the same loud boom sound on Monday, Dec. 26, they did not really start talking about it or asking real questions until it happened again the next day.
Facebook users started chiming in with their two cents about hearing the sound in Taylor, but when people from Linden, White Mountain Lake and Show Low said they heard it or felt it too, the speculation and desire to find out its origin was exacerbated.
Comments such as persons saying they thought a family member slammed the door, or thought their propane tank exploded were common. One person said they saw smoke coming from the wind turbines. Many even said their houses shook like Show Low resident Charles Tupper.
Tupper wrote on Facebook, "Shook my house halfway back to Show Low. No idea what it was."
Early Tuesday morning, Taylor-Snowflake Fire and Medical's Assistant Chief Willie Nelson said they had several calls on the noise and the Snowflake-Taylor Police Department was looking into it, but had not found out anything.
The police department said they did not know what the sound was. Nelson later said that the Navajo County Sheriff's Office said that it was a sonic boom because it was so wide-spread.
People continued to speculate with some saying it was likely fracking, which is a controversial process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas. Others dispelled this for the area.
Lt. Bobby Martin of the Snowflake-Taylor Police Department said on Wed., Dec. 28 that he believed it was either a sonic boom or someone shooting Tannerite. Tannerite is the brand name of exploding rifle targets used for firearms practice.
Asked if it really could be Tannerite, in light of the fact that it was heard in so many areas beyond Taylor, Martin replied in an email, "Depends on how much was used. People are saying they heard shots either before or after the boom. It's become more popular so I'm sure several people got some for Christmas. In all reality we will probably never know for sure until someone can actually say where the noise even came from. I'm not convinced it was tannerite but it's a guess."
Navajo County Chief Deputy Jim Molesa said he talked to several deputies who got calls about the sound and they said they believed it was a sonic boom. Molesa said these were deputies who have been in the military and know the difference between gun shots and a sonic boom.
Molesa also said, "Having heard gunshots for over 40 years, there is a big difference."
A sonic boom by definition is "a loud sound kind of like an explosion. It's caused by shock waves created by any object that travels through the air faster than the speed of sound. Sonic booms create huge amounts of sound energy. When an object moves through the air, it makes pressure waves in front of and behind it."
One of the posts on Facebook was from A.J. Taylor who wrote, "Sonic booms sound like a series of thunderclaps in the Alps due to reverberation. They will shake the house, even more violently the closer the jump to the speed of sound is to you. Unless you folks are infested with space aliens again, there really is no call for aircraft of that capability to be flying in the mountains like that. Unless your also having short spells of tremors, but no explosions, aka, precursor to volcanic eruptions, I'd go with exploding windmills."
The one thing that is certain is the United States currently prohibits overland supersonic flights in the continental United States.
On June 2 this year a loud roaring noise and light awakened many in Arizona, and that was later validated by Arizona State University Meteorite Studies Group to be a meteor.
What was that noise heard around the White Mountains, and the jolt felt by some? At this point it, any answer is just speculation.