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No. 73: Jan-Feb 1991

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Booms Along The Beach

Just because we don't report them don't think that unexplained detonations are no longer heard along the world's seacoasts. These "waterguns" are still booming away, as they have for centuries. Take the Carolina beaches for example.

"Sunset Beach -- Just what is that noise that residents along the coast have been hearing?

"Reverberations powerful enough to shake beach cottages are heard several times every autumn along the coast in New Hanover and Brunswick counties.

"'It moves the earth, I tell you,' Minnie Hunt of Sunset Beach said. 'Sometimes you get two or three in a row.'


"Residents who are now grandparents say their own grandparents remembered the rumbles, so they predate the sonic booms of jets breaking the sound barrier.


"The noises clearly emanate from the sea, she said...'It's not a land phenomenon.'


"The sounds occur most often in the fall and spring, though they occasionally shiver across the beaches in other seasons. Sometimes they shake the coast more than once a day. Sometimes they happen a few days in a row. Sometimes they are weeks apart. They have been reported as far north as Carteret County, but are most frequent near Wilmington and southward."

(Mysteries, Marvels and Things That Go Boom at the Beach," Asheville Citizen, September 4, 1990. Cr. J. Fisher via L. Farish)

Comment. Waterguns, a.k.a. mistpouffers, Barisal Guns, etc., are dealt with in depth under GSD1 in our catalog: Earthquakes, Tides, Anomalous Sounds. To order this book, visit here.

From Science Frontiers #73, JAN-FEB 1991. � 1991-2000 William R. Corliss