Mysterious “boom” heard in WNY still unidentified

BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) -Western New Yorkers want to know what caused a loud “boom” sound heard by many Saturday night. The sound was heard two hours before an earthquake was recorded in South Lockport.

Rodger Struebel from Clarence said it’s not the first time he’s heard such a sound. “I was in the kitchen getting ready for dinner, then ‘boom’,” Streubel explained. “It’s not the first one I’ve heard so it didn’t surprise me.”

The U.S. Geological Survey confirmed a 1.7 magnitude earthquake hit south of Lake Erie beach just before midnight Friday.  On Saturday night, between 4:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. the Erie County Sheriff’s Office received reports of a loud “boom” near Clarence. About an hour later, a 1.5 magnitude earthquake hit southwest of Lockport at 6:37 p.m.

Julie Dutton a U.S.G.S. geological physicist says 1.5 magnitude earthquakes, also known as micro-quakes, are not uncommon. But he said a loud “boom” is. “There are thousands of 1.5 magnitude quakes that occur that aren’t even felt all over the world,” Dutton said.

Mark Castner, Director of the Braun-Ruddick Seismograph Station at Canisus College, said he doesn’t believe the boom and the earthquakes are connected. “I’m confident what people heard in the 5:30 p.m. range was unrelated to the earthquake, that by coincidence happened an hour later,” Castner said.

Castner said he believes the boom could be a quarry blast, but said that’s unlikely at that time during a weekend. He also said it could be an above ground explosion like Tannerrite or a plane traveling at supersonic speed.

Local residents such as Bruce Nisbet agree it could have been a plane. “It sounded like a jet plane could have gone supersonic over us at a low altitude,” he said.

“These mystery booms drive us crazy because we don’t know what they are. Humans are curious, and when we can’t explain it, then we are very curious,” Castner said.

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office confirmed there were multiple reports of this loud noise, but witnesses couldn’t pinpoint which direction it came from.

Loud booms were also reported from as far as England at the same time the sound was heard in western New York. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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