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Scientist Weighs in on "Loud Booms" Reported by Viewers Across the Region

Lynchburg, VA - Many viewers have called and emailed the ABC 13 newsroom to report loud booms that could be heard and felt "for miles".

"It was so loud that it made me kind of jump. I thought something was falling down upstairs, really big, " said viewer Andi Graham, referring to a loud boom that shook her entire house.

"It felt more like an earthquake, " Graham said, and many of her neighbors say they felt it too.They aren't alone. Folks across the region - even across the country - have reported similar experiences.

But science fiction fans may be in for disappointment: local scientists say, it's all a coincidence.

"The best explanation and most likely explanation is the same things that always made booms are still making booms, " said Peter Sheldon, Professor of Physics at Randolph College.Sheldon says that includes a number of causes - like construction, rock blasting, sonic booms, or even pranksters.

"When I was in graduate school, we used to make these liquid nitrogen bombs that would shake the whole building complex. So, there's lots of reasons why loud booms happen, " Sheldon said.As for the recent influx of booms across the country, Sheldon says, no relation.

"There may be something in Lynchburg that creates a boom and there may be something in Forest that creates a boom that are completely separate. Just like saying 'the ghost in your attic...', then I hear a noise in my attic, it doesn't mean there's a ghost in my attic too. It means there's a rat in my attic," said Sheldon.Graham says she has no proof of another cause, but she's sticking with the most obvious explanation."I'm going to go with the UFO theory, " she laughed.

The US Geological Survey backs up Peter Sheldon's theory.

A representative says there is no scientific explanation for the booms.

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