What Was That Boom Heard Around the Seacoast Thursday Night?
A loud boom was heard by many on Thursday night around the Seacoast region, according to reports posted to the Rockingham Alert Facebook page.
Commenters flooded the page with reports of hearing the noise around 10:45 p.m., with reports coming in from Danville, Kingston, Exeter, Hampton, Brentwood, Fremont, Atkinson, Somersworth, and Greenland. Some heard it happen several times.
"Danville, Kingston line, heard 3 loud booms a couple min apart," Jennifer Vallone wrote.
"My husband heard it outside in Exeter," Jennifer Vallone wrote.
"Heard it 3 times in Fremont," Jeremy Murphy commented.
"Heard it in Brentwood…3 loud booms," Janice Murray Asamoa wrote.
"4 loud booms in Kingston. 1st 3 not too far apart. The last one was about 15-20 minutes ago," Cindy Soucy Wiswell wrote.
One commenter joked it was the Patriots season crashing to the ground after Thursday night's 24-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
What's the Cause?
The US Geological Survey did not report any seismic activity in the northeast United States on Thursday.
One possible explanation could be a cryoseism, also known as a frost quake. Forecaster Sarah Jamison at the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, told Seacoast Current that they are not uncommon in New England.
"They're more often to occur when we get a cold snap at the beginning of the year," Jamison said earlier. "Most years we hear reports of 'frost quakes' in the region."
The Maine Geological Survey said that frost quakes are a natural phenomenon that produce ground shaking and noises similar to an earthquake, but are caused by sudden deep freezing of the ground.
"The primary way that they are recognized is that, in contrast to an earthquake, the effects of a cryoseism are very localized. In some cases, people in houses a few hundred yards away do not notice anything," according to the Maine Geological Society.
The high temperature for the day at Portsmouth International Airport at Pease was 45 around noon on Thursday, and dropped to 32 by midnight, according to the weather site Weather Underground. At 5 a.m., the temperature was 25.