Skyquakes are mysterious sounds that are described as an explosive boom rumbling in the distance and have been reported all across the world.
Barisal Guns are the name given to them in India; Uminari are the name given to them in Japan; Mistpoeffers are the name given to them in the Netherlands and Belgium;
Lagoni are the name given to them in Italy because they are said to be associated with lakes; and Retumbos are the name given to them in the Philippines.
They’ve also been reported in Iran, Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and a number of locations along the eastern coast of the United States.
Where they appear to be coming from far offshore. Lake Guns or Seneca Guns are named after Seneca Lake in central New York state, where some have been described as powerful enough to rattle windows and vibrate structures.
The lake’s frightening booming echoes are described in James Fenimore Cooper’s 1850 short fiction “The Lake Gun.”
“It’s a sound like a large piece of artillery going off, and it can’t be explained by any known laws of nature,” Cooper wrote.
“Deep, hollow, distant, and imposing, the report is. The lake appears to be communicating to the surrounding hills, which respond with exact echoes of its voice.”
Skyquakes have been attributed to distant storms or earthquakes, quarry blasts, and even secret military operations, but no satisfactory explanation for all of the reported noises exists.
Now, a group of seismologists from the University of North Carolina has released some preliminary findings that help to narrow down the ideas.
Between 2013 and 2015, the scientists employed the EarthScope Transportable Array, a transportable network of 400 atmospheric sensors and seismographs.
To assess any seismic activity in North Carolina, and compared the data to local news articles citing unexplained sounds or similar events.
The findings of the study were presented at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting in December (AGU).
“We wanted to sift through local news articles and construct a catalogue of Seneca Guns occurrences.
Then try to validate them with genuine seismo-acoustic data,” said researcher Eli Bird, a geological sciences undergraduate at the institution.
Two sensors near Cape Fear in Carolina Beach, NC, captured several strange signals ranging in length from around 1 second to nearly 10 seconds.
Despite the fact that skyquakes can cause ground shaking, the scientists found no earthquake data that matched the events, conclusively ruling out ground shaking as the cause of the booms.
“In general, we believe this is an atmospheric event — we don’t believe it’s caused by seismic activity, and we’re thinking it’s spreading via the sky rather than the ground,” Bird says.
“I’m guessing these aren’t all the same creature making the booming noises.”
Bolides exploding above a cloud cover or the sound of huge waves enhanced by specific atmospheric circumstances near the sea are examples of atmospheric explanations.
Many ostensibly mysterious booms have turned out to be sonic booms created by military planes exceeding the sound barrier over the years.
The researchers intend to collect more data in the future, utilising an array of at least three stations with three atmospheric microphones on each, to more precisely locate where the noises originate, as the selected method appears promising.