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Here's a guess at why people in some Kentucky counties heard loud booms

(WKYT)
Published: Mar. 1, 2019 at 5:56 PM EST
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People in several Kentucky counties reached out to WKYT asking us what caused them to hear a loud boom in late January.

WKYT obtained dispatch recordings out of Jackson County where one woman called thinking something exploded.

"It shook her whole house and the neighbor's house," one woman said, relaying what her daughter told her. "They don't know where it came from."

We talked to several in the area, who told us similar accounts. Some thought a meth lab exploded. Others had theories about a monster. We don't know the exact cause, but we will throw out an educated guess as to why this happened.

It's called cryoseisms, or "ice quakes" to simplify the term.

It starts with a rapid temperature drop. Water freezes at the surface while capping water in the soil beneath it. As the water begins to freeze below ground, pressure builds up. Since ice occupies a slightly greater volume, this results in a gradual widening of cracks within the soil. At some point, this pressure must be released at the surface. This can lead to unexpected booms.

Devonna Hisel is one of the people who heard and felt the mysterious boom. We caught up with her to get her reaction to this theory.

"Plausible. Because there are sinkholes, and there are a lot of sinkholes. So I can see where the water would have drained into the sinkholes, frozen, and caused that boom," Hisel said.

Many others reported the loud boom in parts of Madison, Estill, and Rockcastle counties.