Grand Strand residents report boom, shaking

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The source of the loud boom and shaking is unclear, but lots of people felt it.

WMBF News viewers started reporting what they heard to a loud, shaking boom around 1:30 p.m. Thursday. When asked, many said it was felt across Horry County, but even more in those same locations say they felt and heard nothing.

WMBF News is still looking for the source of the disturbance as our fans present ideas of their own.

Vincent Lehotsky says, "Twas Mary Lee feasting on the Sky Wheel."

"Sorry my T-Rex escaped. I got him back now," reports Brian Carey.

First responders in Horry County have received a lot of the same calls and could not provide an explanation for those reports.

Though the US Geological Survey has not reported any earthquakes in or around the Grand Strand, they do offer a few explanations on their website.

The USGS says:

Earthquake "booms" have been reported for a long time, and they tend to occur more in the Northeastern US and along the East Coast. Of course, most "booms" that people hear or experience are actually some type of cultural noise, such as some type of explosion, a large vehicle going by, or sometimes a sonic boom, but there have been many reports of "booms" that cannot be explained by man-made sources. No one knows for sure, but scientists speculate that these "booms" are probably small shallow earthquakes that are too small to be recorded, but large enough to be felt by people nearby.

And another possible explanation:

The term "Seneca guns" is just a name, not an explanation. It does not tell us anything about what causes these noises and shakings. The name originated in a short story that James Fennimore Cooper wrote during the 1800's. The name refers to booms that have been heard on the shores of Lake Seneca and Lake Cayuga in New York State. The name has been applied to similar noises along the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Similar booms are called Barisol guns in coastal India. These phenomena have also occurred in three widely separated places around the world. That's about all we know about the Seneca guns.

You can read more about "booms" and how often they have been reported in this area on the USGS website.

Is it the end of the world as we know it?

The booms had a few of our Facebook fans joking that the phenomenon sparked by the Maya calendar may be right.

Unlikely, says the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In fact they've posted a YouTube video entitled "Why Didn't The World End Yesterday."

The caption for that video reads, "Senior scientist and astrobiologist at NASA's Ames Research Center is working to inform the public that each of the claims are false and there is no reason that December 21, 2012 will be different from any other day on Earth.

What do you think it was? Leave us a comment on the WMBF News Facebook fan page describing what you heard or felt Thursday afternoon.

Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved.