Mysterious booms baffle Central Virginia residents

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COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WTVR) -- CBS 6 News has received hundreds of tips since our story aired about mysterious booms being heard across Central Virginia. Some said the noises were so intense they rattled their homes.

Police and firefighters in Colonial Heights were called out to three different parts of the city Sunday after receiving calls about mysterious sounds.

"It's a loud, loud boom,” Clint Lanier, who lives in Chesterfield County, told CBS 6 senior reporter Wayne Covil. “It' ain't no shotgun and it ain't no kind of gun. It's like an explosion."

Sgt. Rob Ruxer with Colonial Heights police said dispatchers received at least three calls just before 5:30 p.m. Sunday from citizens in separate areas of the city about a loud noise.

"There was a large boom. I thought it was thunder,” Kelsey Barnes of Colonial Heights said. “It kind of shook the house a little bit, but I have no idea what it was."

Officials have not been able to tie the booms to one specific area, but they have been reported for the past several weeks. Residents from  from Chester to southern Chesterfield, Colonial Heights and Hopewell have reported hearing the booms.

"Well it definitely grabs your attention and you think, ‘why on earth is that going on at this time?" said Carolyn Thompson of Colonial Heights.

Those who have heard the booms said they do not happen again for several days – and how they sound varies.

"I would hear a boom about once every two or three days, just a loud boom and that was it," said Stuart Blankenship of Colonial Heights.

John Thompson, who heard the boom in Colonial Heights, described it as a Sonic Boom from a jet. He said he did not think it was fireworks since there was only one boom.

"I went out of my bedroom and went outside and looked around first thing," said Chase Henry of Chesterfield. "Then walked back inside, I had no idea, so I just left it at that."

Colonial Heights residents Susan Crane, who also lives in, said she was watching TV when she heard the boom Sunday.

“I've heard it numerous times,” Crane said. “I usually get up and look out my door, like I'm going to see something, but there's nothing to see."

CBS 6 News checked area surveillance cameras across the city and could not find sign of the boom. With every recurrence, there has been no revelation about what or who is behind them.

Colonial Heights Fire Chief A.G. Moore said his department does not have any additional leads about where the noises are coming from or what is causing them.

"I think that's what kind of surprised me the most, is seeing how wide spread this is," said Moore. "It's not really confined just to Colonial Heights and Southern Chesterfield County."

On social media there is a lot of speculation about what could be causing the booms. If you think you know what is causing them, scroll down to leave a comment or click here to post a message on Facebook. 

But CBS 6 has determined the booms are not coming from Fort Lee or Fort Picket. It was not the rock quarry in Dinwiddie or Chesterfield. Additionally, it was not a transformer explosion or a sonic boom.

And while some CBS 6 Facebook fans thought it might be a cold-related tremor, the average temperature last week was nearly 40 degrees.

Stay with CBS 6 News and for updates on this story. 


    • Nancy Lewis

      I don’t think it was a frost quake. We had one in the Deltaville area around July-August, one on October 27, and another on December 28.

      • KJ

        You couldn’t have had a frost quake in the summer or fall. The temperature has to rapidly drop to below freezing for a frost quake to happen.

    • S.T. 2

      It was not cold enough before or during the event for it to be frost quakes. Also the ground composition in central and eastern VA is not right. Too much clay.

  • J. Doran

    I find it terrifying that no one can tell us what the noises are. Is there any fracking going on in the area? I can’t help to feel its a big “secret” and we are going to find out what it is when it’s too late to prevent something bad from happening. These kind of noises don’t just happen while no one knows what’s happening. Someone’s not saying something.

    • Karmel

      What J. Doran said! We heard the same thing in Mobile, Alabama tonite and literally everyone ran out of their houses to see what it was. Our windows shook. Later, I was telling my sister who lives in Oklahoma and she said just this morning, she heard a news report about other places hearing them as well – maybe in Virginia. I concur with J. Doran here.

    • Stephanie

      Honey, there’s not too big of a conspiracy here. I doubt something on this magnitude has ever really happened before. The loud booming noises became a phenomena somewhere back in the late 1990’s, I believe it was.

      The first time I became aware of it here in FL, most everybody in Central FL heard a really loud booming noise and the ground shook. Everything in my house rattled and people came out of their homes wondering what was going on. I know for a long time, we were afraid of a sink hole forming, even though we weren’t in sink hole territory.

      Supposedly, there was no earthquake, no jets, no rockets taking off, nothing from NASA, no explosions. And I started see this happen all over the world, not just here in the US.

      When it happened up in Richmond, VA, and it was an ongoing occurrence, they even tried to find somebody putting firecrackers down the sewer pipes to explain the booming noises but nobody ever did.

      I started praying and asking the Lord what it was. He told me that the plates deep down were shifting. And I’ve watched over the years and that does seem to be what is going on. The booming noises are attached to a spate of earthquakes that start occurring in places that normally don’t get earthquakes. That is pressure being released.

      Boston and some small town in PA had two small earthquakes on or shortly after the day of your booms. But they also heard the booming noises up there too.

      Recently, there has been earthquake activity off of the East Coast, SC and FL. And then the other day there was an earthquake south of FL that was felt all of the way up here in Central FL.

      This is just a sign of the End Times. Nothing to be alarmed about. Just trust in God. He’ll take care of you.

  • bfporter

    Check out HAARP…the military/govt installation on Youtube located in Alaska. That will most likely explain it. The compound is a weather modification facility. Others have reported these types of booms all around the world.

  • Nancy Lewis

    I’m a bit doubtful. HAARP gets blamed for earthquakes, storms, diseases, etc. which were in existance before HAARP was in existance.

  • Eric

    Strange we were hearing them in Mechanicsville Va every other night. I assumed it was Home Depot unloading lumber or something.

  • Beth Lambert

    I live in Amelia County, and we hear them all the time here. Thought they were cannon fire from Fort Pickett. Sunday, we heard this too around 5:30 that evening. It was loud and close enough, it shook our house. It sounded and felt close enough we thought it was a wreck up on the highway, and listened for sirens, but never heard any. Hope they figure this out soon.

  • Kenneth Rollston

    It is not a normal or standard sound. Been living here in the area all my life and never herd this before. I also live near FT Lee and close enough to hear them all the time.. They don’t do Big guns there anyway, just small arms.. Like has been said in previous comments, someone know, but is not saying..

  • Follow on twitter @scaleweighted

    the booms are caused by rock fragments from a meteor, 3200 Phaethon.yes the booms occur every year but no need to fear because the dust fragments burn up and expire in the atmosphere .

  • Paul

    I have also heard these booms in Albemarle county, heard a couple Saturday while outside, if Iam not mistaken wtvr also reported on booms several years back not too long before the earthquake happened in mineral.

  • Kima

    I live near VSU, on the Chesterfield side. I have heard these booms for nearly a year now. I reported them to the police when I first heard them. The sound is terrifying. After hearing them for so long now, I have gotten use to the sounds. I still would like to know too where they are coming from. I initially thought that maybe they were train cars bumping into each other. Because sometimes I would hear a train whistle within 5 minutes of the boom effect. I then started to think the construction work in Ettrick may be the cause. The sound of the trees being bulldozed to the ground and the houses as well. Concrete from driveways too came to my attention as well. It does look like a war zone in Ettrick around the beautiful campus of VSU. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Convocation Center started recently. However, those of us familiar with the area know that demolition of houses has been going on now for at least a year. However, the last boom I heard was this past Sunday and from what I remember workers were not out there that day. I honestly don’t think the booms are coming from the construction work, just was hoping. My husband seems to think someone is possibly setting off a cannon or even bombs. Whatever the case maybe, it would be nice to figure out the cause.

  • Becky

    Who’s hearing loud booms outside tonight??? I heard one when I was walking the dog and it scared me to death. Not to worry… It was caused by the extreme cold.

    FOR WEATHER GEEKS ONLY: It could also be a “Frost Quake.” This is a rare occurrence that happens when temperatures fall below zero and cause water in the ground to freeze. As the underground ice expands, it causes the soil to expand producing the boom noises and in some cases shaking similar to an earthquake. Let me know if you have heard the same thing or if I’m just crazy (after all this wild weather I may be)

    This is my last post for the night. Thanks again for following me on Facebook…. I think we’ve got a pretty cool page!

    Photo courtesy 680News Toronto

  • Nick Lambert

    “Frost quakes”?! What a rediculous claim. Seems that “they” will make up excuses to keep the truth from us. Kind of like “red plastic forks” are causing the radiation spikes in San Francisco. REALLY??

  • Cynthia

    Has anyone checked with Shoosmith in Chesterfield County to see if they have been using explosives? The noise came from West of Branders Bridge Road towards the Matoaca area. It sounded like some sort of boom or explosion and it echoed like thunder.

    • S.T. 2

      With the low inversion level That very well could be. The sound would travel fairly far with the tight inversion we had those nights.

    • Nancy Lewis

      Thanks Oscar…..interesting angle. We don’t have any sewers down here in Deltaville but we do have a few right-wing extremists close by. I hope they aren’t practicing bomb making skills. The booms in this area reminded me so much of when I lived near a rock quarry in Spotsylvaina that would do blasting in the afternoon. I am leaning towards low level seismic activity that hasn’t been great enough to be recorded by the U.S Geologic Survey……at least that’s the best guess I’ve heard so far. Very strange.

  • S.

    We had strange “booming” noises in Northside Richmond neighborhoods over 10 years ago…thought it might be gas in the sewage system. If I recall correctly, siesmic (spelling probably wrong, sorry) equipment eventually showed that it was fault activity far below the surface. This would have been 2002-2003 to the best of my memory…may the same in this case?

  • troy

    maybe its waste management,have your heard these guys bang the trash cans,shakes our whole neighborhood.usually starts around 4am

  • dennise

    Did some searching on the USGS site and copied the info below. Maybe the booms are being caused by earthquakes. See info below.
    “booms” have been reported for a long time, and they tend to occur more in the Northeastern US and along the East Coast. Of course, most “booms” that people hear or experience are actually some type of cultural noise, such as some type of explosion, a large vehicle going by, or sometimes a sonic boom, but there have been many reports of “booms” that cannot be explained by man-made sources. No one knows for sure, but scientists speculate that these “booms” are probably small shallow earthquakes that are too small to be recorded, but large enough to be felt by people nearby.

  • joe schmo

    Has no one figured out yet that since Gamer Mountain got here the booms have started. I live in Hollymead and am a combat vet and have been hearing booms here. All it is that you are hearing is large explosions from tanerite. If you listen carefully you will hear small arms fire first which is not that loud followed by a large boom. Instead of making asmall target liad, kids more then likely are making huge pots of the stuff and setting it off.

    • joe schmo

      Sorry Gander Mountain. Dang autocorrect. And btw I saw people doing it nearby while I was flying my drone on New Years so yes I personally know what it is.

    • Nancy Lewis

      Doubtful. We are hearing them in Deltaville also and there is not a Gander Mountain within 60 miles. Thanks for your input.

  • Nancy Lewis

    Forgot to mention that the most recent one rattled the windows in our house just outside of Deltaville. I really don’t think its Gander Mountain.

  • Max R. Pardon

    Could the booms be underground aquifers being filled or drained from all the rain and moisture in the air?

    • Nancy Lewis

      Yes, we do have Dominion Power in this area. However, I doubt that they would be splicing lines at 9:45 PM.

  • Whitney

    The “Booms” have been heard/felt here in Goochland as well. I just find it vvery disturbing that nobody can explain what it is!

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