Exploding meteor thought to be cause of New Year’s Day earth tremors and massive boom in Pittsburgh

Residents across Pittsburgh reported hearing a loud boom and feeling their homes rattling on Saturday morning

Rachel Sharp
Sunday 02 January 2022 16:26 GMT
Home security camera captures loud boom in Pittsburgh

An exploding meteor is thought to have been the cause of earth tremors and a massive boom that rocked Pittsburgh on New Year’s Day.

Residents across southwestern Pennsylvania saw in the New Year with a bang when many heard a loud boom and felt their homes shaking at around 11:30am Saturday morning.

Several people took to social media to share videos taken from home surveillance and doorbell cameras which captured the sudden erupting noise.

One resident, Martin Eibeck, posted footage from inside his home where he is seen suddenly looking up as a loud explosion ring outs.

A second video, taken from his backyard camera, also captures the booming noise.

The National Weather Service Pittsburgh said on Saturday night that it now believes a meteor explosion could be to blame.

While it could not confirm for definite, satellite imaging picked up a flash in the area which was not lightning at around 11:26am – around the same time residents were startled by the disturbance.

“The loud explosion heard over SW PA earlier may have been a meteor explosion,” the agency tweeted.

“This GOES-16 GLM Total Optical Energy product shows a flash that was not associated with lightning.

“No confirmation, but this is the most likely explanation at this time.”

At the time of the blast, some residents feared it was an earthquake and many called emergency services.

Allegheny County tweeted on Saturday morning that it had received multiple 911 calls reporting shaking in the South Hills area.

Officials insisted there was no thunder or lightning at the time and no seismic activity.

“At this point, we have no explanation for the reports, but agencies are continuing to look,” it said.

One Hampton resident described how she was sitting on her couch working on her laptop when it “sounded like a house was exploding”.

“I have friends from all over saying they heard it, too,” Jill Tarasi told TribLive.

Another woman in Avalon said the movement felt similar to when she experienced an earthquake in California.

“I was the only one awake [Saturday], and it felt very similar to the earthquake [in California],” said Laurel Ryan, as she described the noise and motion like “big thumps” which happened twice.

Meteorologist Shannon Hefferan told the outlet that a similar flash – thought to be a meteor explosion – was also recorded back on 17 September in Hardy County, West Virginia.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in