Bolide Meteor Blamed for Mystery Boom over Washington State

dark-2024127_640.png

A bolide meteor bursting in the Earth's atmosphere is being blamed for a mysterious boom and accompanying bright flash over Grays Harbor County in western Washington state last Wednesday.  The disruptive aerial explosion occurred shortly after 7 p.m., and was violent enough to shake the homes of residents.

Reports of mysterious booms, sometimes accompanied by flashes of light, have been on the rise since 2017; so far no blanket explanation fits the disparate phenomena, but meteors and other natural causes are often used to explain individual events.

The Grays Harbor County Emergency Management department was initially unable to determine the cause of the phenomenon after contacting both the Federal Aviation Administration and the Western Air Defense Sector at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, but by yesterday the American Meteor Society had declared that an exploding bolide meteor had dropped hundreds, if not thousands, of meteorites over the county.  The meteor tracking organization had received 22 reports of a fireball over Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia, corresponding to the date and time of the event over Grays Harbor County.

 An image showing the dust cloud created by the exploding bolide meteor, as captured by doppler radar.  (Image credit: NASA)

An image showing the dust cloud created by the exploding bolide meteor, as captured by doppler radar.  (Image credit: NASA)

The last bolide meteor explosion of comparable size happened over Park Forest, Illinois, on March 26th, 2003, damaging homes and cars; although no injuries or fatalities were reported.  No such damage has yet been reported in Washington.

Tobias WaylandComment