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Sonic boom across parts of Montana captured on seismic sensors

Sonic boom recorded in Southwest Montana
Posted at 1:52 PM, Nov 01, 2023

BUTTE — If you happened to hear a loud boom on Monday afternoon (October 30, 2023), you weren't alone.

Hundreds of people from southwest Montana, Idaho, and even Utah reported hearing a mystery boom that Mike Stickney of the Montana Bureau of Mines & Geology says showed up on seismic sensors that are spread out around western Montana.

"Yesterday at about 2:45 p.m. there was a sharp little event that showed up on a number of those stations. It did not look like a typical earthquake because the energy took an unusually long amount of time to get between those various seismic sensors," says Stickney, the director of the earthquake studies office at the agency.

Stickney says on the American Meteor Society website, more than a dozen people from Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho reported seeing a fireball in the sky that coincided with the seismic sensor recordings.

He says that, oddly, there was no sound reported with the fireballs.

"Sonic events like this are relatively unusual. Much more common are the earthquakes that are recorded on a daily basis," says Stickney.

He says the reports of the fireball along with the sonic boom that was recorded on seismic sensors leads him to believe that it was either a meteor or a large piece of space junk that fell into the atmosphere.