Loud booming noises have startled people across the United States, but it’s not clear what actually is happening or if the separate events are even related.
Residents in a number of states—Alabama, California, Idaho, Michigan and New Jersey—have reported hearing similar, mysterious sounds. Most recently, the noises also were heard in Colorado, CBS Denver reports.
The Monday sounds left CBS Denver’s meteorologist Chris Spears baffled. The only possible explanation Spears could conclude was that meteors from the Leonid meteor shower were bursting in the sky, creating the loud noises. However, Ron Hranac, an astronomy expert, struck down his theory saying that the meteors produced by the Leonids are way too small for this to happen, according to CBS Denver.
A day after the explosion-like noises, officials believed they had a better answer of what happened on Monday night, but they still aren’t certain.
An empty oil storage tank over-pressurized near the region where residents were calling in about the boom, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) officials told The Denver Channel. Due to the pressure, the lid was blown from the tank, “potentially resulting in a loud noise,” officials explained.
Following the incident, the oil and gas production company went on to file an accident report, which stated “that a malfunction of a production vessel led to an over-pressurization of a new and empty … storage tank, which resulted in the lid of the tank being compromised,” The Denver Post reports.
Furthermore, the report notes that no one was hurt and there were no environmental impacts or property damage outside of the boundaries of their property. The COGCC is now looking into the event to further understand what happened.
“The wells at the site will be closed in until equipment repairs have been made and a more thorough review of the incident has been completed,” the report said, according to The Denver Post.
Although the cause of the Colorado noises may have been discovered, other noises from across the country remain a mystery. A recent boom heard in Alabama left the National Weather Service in Birmingham taking many guesses as to what happened.
“Re: loud boom heard: we do not see anything indicating large fire/smoke on radar or satellite; nothing on USGS indicating an earthquake,” the agency wrote on Twitter. “We don’t have an answer, and can only hypothesize with you. 1) sonic boom from aircraft; 2) meteorite w/ current Leonid shower?”
However, the November 14 incident has still yet to be solved.