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SALT LAKE CITY — The cause of a loud boom heard across the Wasatch Front on Saturday has yet to be determined, but all signs point to the skies above.
Initial reports of a large boom began at 8:32 a.m. Saturday, resulting in a flurry of social media posts. Many have uploaded videos from home cameras that captured the rumbling sound across most of the Wasatch Front, northern Utah and even parts of southern Idaho.
University of Utah seismological stations quickly confirmed that the quake was not an earthquake. Soon, Gov. Spencer Cox and the Utah National Guard both tweeted that the boom was not associated with any military installation, as sonic booms often do.
Then all attention turned to the galaxies.
Many have reported seeing a burning object in the sky, the ascendant may be associated with a meteorite. The Salt Lake City office of the National Weather Service reinforced the meteor theory when flashes that were not caused by thunderstorms appeared on its maps.
Videos surfaced of a meteor shooting across the morning sky In Roy just before the boom.
“We have video confirmation of a meteor this morning over northern Utah, southern Idaho and elsewhere,” the weather service tweeted.
The timing coincides with the Perseid meteor shower, which peaked on Friday. According to Space.com. The website notes that the meteor shower is caused by ice and rock from Comet Swift-Tuttle, the last flyby of Earth in 1992.
Reinforces the meteor theory for this morning #Boom Inside #Utah, the two red pixels shown in Davis and Morgan counties are from the GOES-17 Lightning Mapper, but are not associated with satellite or radar evidence of thunderstorm activity. May have meteor trail/flash #utwxpic.twitter.com/qRO2Rsfca7
— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) August 13, 2022
KSL-TV spoke with Patrick Wiggins. He has an asteroid named after him, worked at a local planetarium for decades, and now serves as a volunteer for NASA.
He said it’s not uncommon to see a meteor streak over Utah, but it’s rare to hear a meteor.
If you heard it like many did today, that means it was close, and chances are there are fragments of those meteorites somewhere in Utah, he said. Wiggins’ advice is to look around your home or wherever you go.
“Some of them are worth more than gold,” Wiggins said. “You don’t know you passed the $50,000 cliff.”
Contribution: Carter Williams, Michael Locklear, KSL-TV