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Mystery boom resounds throughout North Country

Some people heard it as a boom, some as a bang, some as a series of explosions. Imagine the noise of a dump truck being dropped from 100 feet in the air onto pavement. It shook buildings.

Many people said it sounded like it was coming from inside their building on on their block. But it wasn’t just local; people heard it around the same time across a huge swath of northern New York. In response to an Enterprise Facebook post, people wrote that they had heard it as far west as Cranberry Lake, as far north as Malone, as far east as AuSable Forks and as far south as Eagle Bay, plus throughout the Tri-Lakes villages.

That boom was heard in Saranac Lake 10:13 a.m. Some people also reported hearing a later one, perhaps around 1 p.m.

The cause of the noise remained a mystery as of Friday afternoon.

There was no record of any earthquake within 2,000 miles of the Adirondacks, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s online global tracker.

Several people on the Enterprise Facebook post said they had seen military fighter jets flying overhead, and many suspected it was a jet’s sonic boom. But three different agencies with military aircraft said it wasn’t from any of their planes. An official with the Vermont Air National Guard said they have had no fighters since spring, when their F-16s were moved. An official with the Fort Drum Army base near Watertown said it wasn’t them, either: They have helicopters, not fixed-wing planes. And Lt. Col. Judson Stiglich with the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing, based at Hancock Field in Syracuse, said, “It likely wasn’t us, because today’s a non-fly day for us … and typically the aircraft we fly don’t make those kind of noises.”

Could it have been a meteor? It’s hard to tell. That was the cause attributed to a boom heard throughout central New York on Monday, Labor Day. The amateur American Meteor Society and NASA meteor specialist Bill Cooke said Monday’s noise was likely a sonic boom from a “fireball,” the term for when a small meteor burns up while entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

Numerous people reported seeing Monday’s central New York fireball as a sudden, bright streak in the sky, but so far the Enterprise has not been able to find any such sightings in the North Country Friday. Mike Hankey of the American Meteor Society noted that more than 20 people reported witnessing Monday’s fireball, if that’s what it was, on the society’s website, while no one had reported anything related to Friday’s boom. That led Hankey to suspect Friday’s came from a military plane.