A loud “boom” reported by many northern Utah residents early Saturday was likely a meteor, officials said.
The “boom” was heard in northern Utah and parts of southern Idaho around 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The noise was so loud that the University of Utah Seismograph Monitoring Department reported that some people felt the “boom”, raising concerns of an earthquake.
“We can confirm that it was not an earthquake,” said the department on Twitter.
Utah Governor Spencer Cox tweeted he heard the noise during a morning run in Salt Lake City, adding that the noise was not from nearby military installations.
The noise was captured by home security cameras, and some images shared with audio on social networks. A resident wondered, “What was that?”
South Salt Lake resident Wendi Melling was heading for the door Saturday morning when she heard the noise, which she described to the Salt Lake Tribune as a “loud, deep sound” followed by a few seconds of rumbling.
“Thought I heard something fall in the house,” Melling wrote in a Facebook post to the outlet.
“It sounded like sonic booms I’ve heard before, followed by a brief incident of a sound similar to low thunder,” Melling continued. “That rumble that followed the boom was maybe 3-4 seconds.”
Amid the confusion, the National Weather Service seemed to find the answer. They tweeted their geostationary Lightning Mapper, which can detect lightning in clouds, spotted a signature north of Salt Lake City that was not part of a thunderstorm.
The service tweeted that it was likely a meteor trail or flash, “reinforcing the meteor theory”.
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The weather service’s tweet coincides with a report from the American Meteor Society. The company received 14 reports of the meteor in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming at the time of the boom, according to the company’s website. Snowbasin Resort in Hunstville, just north of Salt Lake City, posted images of a meteor crossing the sky.
EarthSky says meteors can make noise as they pass through Earth’s atmosphere, creating a sound similar to a sonic boom.
When meteors become bright as they enter Earth’s atmosphere, they become “balls of fire,” which can light up the sky, according to the American Meteor Society. NASA says meteors and fireballs don’t usually stay intact as they pass through Earth’s atmosphere, and sometimes fragments, or meteorites, can be found.
Contributor: Associated Press
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.