Swing and a miss on booming sounds

The current question is asking about a mysterious booming sound heard in the vicinity of Washington, DC. But while Cecil then fills a column about similar-sounding booms, he does very little to address the actual question. Most of the explanations Cecil proffers are natural, specifically mostly seismic. Those explanations which aren’t seismic are all from isolated events like meteor strikes.

But the specific sound that’s being asked about is not only recurring, and not only recurs on a regular schedule, but the schedule in question is weekly. According to the questioner, the sound occurs every Tuesday morning, within a fairly narrow window of time. Now, some things in nature are periodic, and some of those periods are very regular, but there’s no natural phenomenon that has a period of precisely one week (and if this sound really has been going on for five years with the same timing, then the period is very precise indeed). The only things which have a period of precisely one week are all human in origin, and so must the explanation of this sound be.

Or, of course, it’s possible that the original questioner is mistaken, and this sound isn’t as regular as he claims, and it’s merely a selection effect or other observational bias which makes him think so. But in that case, Cecil should have started out by correcting the false information.

As it is, though, despite filling the column, Cecil actually says nothing at all about the specific sound the questioner is hearing.

Did you miss the last paragraph:



Are you OK, Chronos? Cecil used the question as a launching point for a very interesting digression on all kinds of sounds, then very precisely answered the question with a direct quote from the actual source, as noted by TriPolar. Did you fall asleep and stop reading?

Chronos is just padding his post count. :wink:

I think this is one of Cecil’s best columns in a long time. He answers a mysterious and disturbing question with some clear facts…after an interesting little essay on the most likely other reasons for other instances of the phenomenon.

Apparently, yes. :o

When life hands you lemons, throw them them hard at life and hope to leave bruises.

I also used to hear a deep boom almost every Wednesday at around 2:00 in the afternoon. I haven’t heard it, though, since I moved from my old house, which was about a mile from the quarry… Hey, waitaminute! I got it! It must be people at the quarry throwing stuff-

Sorry. I’ll show myself out.

I thought it was a very good article, too.

By the way, Chronos–is that foot in your mouth tasty?


The thread was worth it for this.

That is unusual? :dubious:

I sometimes hear booms from the direction of the landfill … folks there say it happens occasionally.

There’s always a bright flash before the boom comes from the substation.

Gravel quarries do use dynamite … I hear them booms.

The tree branches go “snap” before they go boom on my house.

Cats go thump, probably doesn’t qualify.

Earthquakes don’t go boom around here, those are volcanoes exploding.

If Cecil had started by saying it’s cannon practice at Arlington, he wouldn’t have had much of a column, and where’s the charm in that? So, he told us a double handful of things we never knew existed, and then he brought out the big guns.

Besides, if life gives you melons, you could be dyslexic.:wink:

Point taken!

I can suck up to Uncle Cecil as well as the next guy.

Another possible source of mysterious booms might sometimes be kids fooling around with little cannons and the like. It’s what caused General Patton to suffer a military defeat. (Sort of).

(Link is to a podcast from “Futility Closet,” a blog many Dopers would enjoy checking into from time to time).

Sadly, it took me all the way to the end of the column to realize what the writer meant by “drills”. I was trying to figure out who was drilling wells in Arlington National Cemetery.
Powers &8^]

Stole this.

And there is this immortal quote from the not-so-immortal Cave Johnson:


I’m going to say the sounds are coming from Indian Head as they manufacture munitions. I was also stationed there and we heard the booms all the time as, we theorized, they are doing QA on the explosives as they make them. That’s also where the Navy Railgun was developed and I’m pretty sure they test fired that thing in an open bay.