There are explosions in Orange County, and it’s not one of these understated ladies discovering that the latest scintillating trinket from her hubby is made of 100 per cent pure cubic zirconia.
Yes, it’s mystery boom time again.
Earlier this month, residents in Orange County and further north up the California coast, in Santa Cruz, reported shock wave events that fit a familiar pattern. They felt and sounded more like earthquakes than the distinct pop of a sonic boom, but seismologists detected no quakes. The booms were described as a “rattle” – in Orange County, some people thought that someone outside was rattling the windows or doors. No military user has come forward to explain it as a pilot with a heavy left hand.
The same set of observations applies to the original “skyquakes” which rolled across Southern California in the early 1990s and which helped fuel speculation about the possible development of classified high-speed aircraft based at Area 51 in Nevada.
pic: Adrian Mann
Retired NASA researcher Dom Maglieri – one of the gurus of low-sonic-boom design and the most eminent sonic boom researcher to look at the data – has said on two occasions that the booms did look like direct overflights.
Alternative explanations – refracted or “over-the-top” booms from fighters, Barisal guns, whatever – have been advanced, but the fact remains that there was only one “mystery boom” outbreak that occurred before the big expansion of US black-project spending in the 1980s. It was caused by a large supersonic aircraft, namely Concorde, flying overwater, in the first well documented occurrence of refracted booms.
By the way, one thing to look out for in the next defense budget is how far classified spending has been trimmed. My guess is that it won’t be down very far, if at all.