A meteor is believed to have exploded in the sky over Indiana this week after locals reported hearing a loud boom.
The sound was heard in several Indiana counties on Wednesday.
In a Facebook post that evening, the Cordry-Sweetwater Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Corps said the explosion was heard at 12:44 p.m. that day and a source or cause had not been determined at that time.
Meanwhile, the Brown County Indiana Emergency Management Facebook group wrote that “multiple agencies in multiple counties are tracking the source.”
One person commented that the boom “shook our whole house”.
Although unconfirmed, scientists now believe the boom was caused by a space rock based on reports recorded by the American Meteor Society (AMS).
According to the AMS website, the group received 12 reports of a fireball seen or heard over Indiana and Kentucky on Wednesday, all of which occurred shortly after noon.
“I’ve heard reports of the sound but no one mentions the flash just before,” said an individual in Bloomington who reported a brief white light in the sky along with a “thunder sound.”
“I heard more than I saw,” read another report. “It was as if the stone quarry up the road had exploded at the same time that lightning struck less than a mile away. I saw the lightning through a window with the curtains drawn about three seconds before I heard the boom which I knew was more than explosive because it shook the building I was in and knocked a few things to the floor.”
Mike Hankey, who works for AMS, told The Bloomingtonian in Bloomington, Indiana on Thursday that the reports so far were “good confirmation that it was in fact a fireball meteor. and not anything else”.
Meanwhile, Brandon Johnson, a planetary scientist at Purdue University, told Indiana news outlet Fox59 that the meteor should have been seen if it was big enough to make the reported sound, but noted that the cloud cover could have made this difficult.
“It’s a reminder that we need to stay alert and know how to protect ourselves and detect them before they happen,” he added.
Potential sightings of fireballs are common – there are dozens of reports on the AMS site in the last month alone – but damage is rare.
In February 2013, a meteor exploded in the sky over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia.
Estimated to have been a space rock the size of a house, it exploded with the energy equivalent of 440,000 tons of TNT and blasted windows over 200 square miles.
More than 1,600 people were injured in that blast, mostly from broken glass, according to NASA.