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No. 136: JUL-AUG 2001

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More Carolina Beach Booms

January 25, 2001. North Carolina coast. About 11 PM, residents of Wilmington, North Carolina, just north of Cape Fear, were startled by deep booms that shook houses. Anxious residents from Wilmington to Bladen County telephoned the National Earthquake Information Center, in Boulder, Colorado, to report the supposed seismic activity. But instruments recorded nothing of the sort in the afflicted area. The booms had a different source.

(Anonymous; "Coastal Residents Jolted by Mysterious Booms," Lincoln Times-news, January 29, 2001. Cr. G. Fawcett via. L. Farish.)

Comment. Such booms have plagued the North Carolina shore for many years -- perhaps centuries. (SF#73) Rather than earthquakes, the booms are more likely due to the spontaneous detonations of methane "burps" rising from destabilized methane hydrate, which exists in large quantities off the Carolina shores. (SF#100) The Carolina booms probably are, therefore, analogous to the "mistpouffers" heard along European shores and the famous Barisal Guns of India.

From Science Frontiers #136, JUL-AUG 2001. 2001 William R. Corliss

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