Meteor Likely Caused 'Thundering' Boom That Shook Indiana Homes

A meteor is believed to have exploded in the sky over Indiana this week after residents reported hearing a loud boom.

The sound was heard throughout several Indiana counties on Wednesday.

In a Facebook post that evening the Cordry-Sweetwater Volunteer Fire Department & Ambulance Corps said the explosion was heard at 12:44 p.m. that day, and that a source or cause had not been determined at that point.

Meanwhile, the Brown County Indiana Emergency Management Facebook group wrote that "multiple agencies in multiple counties are looking for the source."

One person commented to say that the boom "shook our whole house."

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While not confirmed, scientists now believe the boom was caused by a space rock based on reports logged by the American Meteor Society (AMS).

According to the AMS website, the group received 12 reports of a fireball seen or heard over Indiana and Kentucky on Wednesday, all occurring shortly after midday.

"I've heard reports of the sound but no-one mentions the flash just before it," said one individual in Bloomington who reported a brief white light in the sky as well as a "thundering sound".

"I heard more than seen it," another report reads. "It was like the stone quarry up the road had blasted at the same time a bolt of lightning hit within a mile. I saw the flash through a window with curtains closed about three seconds before hearing the boom which I knew was more than blasting because it shook the building I was in, and knocked a few things onto the floor."

Mike Hankey, who works for the AMS, told Bloomington, Indiana news outlet The Bloomingtonian on Thursday that reports up to that point were "good confirmation that it was in fact a fireball meteor and not something else."

Meanwhile, Brandon Johnson, a planetary scientist at Purdue University, told Indiana news outlet Fox59 the meteor should have been seen if it was big enough to make the reported sound, but noted that cloud cover could have made this difficult.

"It's a reminder that we need to stay vigilant and know how to protect ourselves and detect these before they happen," he added.

Potential fireball sightings are common—there are dozens of reports on the AMS site from last month alone—but it's rare for them to be damaging.

In February, 2013, a meteor exploded in the sky over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia.

Estimated to have been a house-sized space rock, it exploded with the energy equivalent of 440,000 tons of TNT, and blew out windows over 200 square miles.

Over 1,600 people were injured in that blast, mostly due to broken glass, according to NASA.

Meteor
A stock photo shows an illustration of a fiery meteor against a backdrop of stars. Meteors can sometimes cause loud explosions if they break up in the sky. Marharyta Marko/Getty