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Loud Booms Over State Of Washington

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08/03/2009 09:36 AM
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Loud Booms Over State Of Washington
[link to www.peninsuladailynews.com]

Blame Canada: Source of booming sounds revealed?

By Tom Callis
Peninsula Daily News

Even though -- as with any intriguing mystery -- the pieces of the puzzle never seem to quite fit, explosive ordnance training in Canada may explain the booming sounds heard in Port Angeles last week.

Several readers living in or near Port Angeles have reported loud booms shaking their homes.

Possible explanations involving naval and Coast Guard exercises in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Air Force flyovers, thunderstorms and permitted explosions have not fit the bill.

But perhaps providing the most likely explanation is explosive ordnance training that occurred on a small island near Race Rocks last week.

The public affairs office with the Canadian Navy in Esquimalt on Vancouver Island, after being previously unaware of it, confirmed Friday that the training did occur on Bentinck Island.

Spokesman Gerry Pash said the training, which involves small plastic explosives in order to destroy beach obstacles, occurred from last Monday through Friday.

"We would be putting off charges of a couple of pounds of plastic explosive to train in cutting steel from a beach, clearing or removing logs and that kind of stuff," he said.

A likely explanation?

Perhaps not, if Pash was correct in saying that the island had not been used any other time during July.

Two, three weeks ago

James Kaahill, who lives off of Deer Park Road, said Friday that he was nearly knocked out of bed by a loud boom that shook his home about two or three weeks ago.

"It shook the whole house and shook my bed and damn near shook me out of it," said Kaahill, 91.

He said he did not think too much about the incident, which occurred sometime between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. that day, until he read about other people having their homes shaken by loud booms in Friday's Peninsula Daily News.

Pash said explosives training on Bentinck Island is nothing new.

In fact, munitions detonated on the island were blamed for loud booms heard around Port Angeles in 1982.

Pash said explosives training occurs there several times a year, and could have started before World War II.

"I've been here for 20 years, and this is the first time that I've had complaints from across the Strait," he said.

"We've had, certainly, complaints from neighbors from this side of the water," he added.

But if Bentinck Island is to blame, why would we not hear the explosions every time?

National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Michalski said the weather could provide the explanation.

Carry over water

Michalski said a "low level inversion layer," which means that the air is warmer in the higher elevations, had been in place over the area last week.

He said that may trap sound waves closer to the surface, and therefore, allowing them to be heard over greater distances.

Pash said Bentinck Island is scheduled to be used again for explosives training from Sept. 9-10, Sept. 14-17 and on Oct. 2.

And what about seismic activity?

Lucy Walsh, a student researcher at the University of Washington's Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, said a loud boom caused by an earthquake could be heard close to a fault line as long as the quake was of significant magnitude.

"When you hear big sounds, a large portion of this rock is being uplifted or shifted," she said.

"That doesn't happen with small magnitude earthquakes."

The seismic network, in the last two weeks, has reported two 1-magnitude quakes in Neah Bay and near Victoria, and a 2-magnitude quake in southern Vancouver Island, but nothing of greater strength in the area.


Last modified: August 02. 2009 12:42AM
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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08/03/2009 09:40 AM
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Re: Loud Booms Over State Of Washington
[link to www.konp.com]

Canadian military causing mysterious booms, maybe not
July 31st, 2009 - 2:52am

(Port Angeles) -- Those loud booms around our area are still a mystery.

Yesterday, the Coast Guard told us they believed the series of loud booms that rattled home in the Joyce and Port Angeles area this week came from Canadian military exercises.

But the Canadians say they weren't firing anything big enough to make such a blast felt across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Additionally, the exercises were finished before some of the booms were reported.

So far, local authorities say they don't have any ideas what might be causing the booms.

Numerous people have called Newsradio 1450 KONP wondering about what was rattling their windows.