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What's behind those mysterious booms in Washington state?

A view of Moran State Park on Orcas Island
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KUOW/Brandi Fullwood

On March 7, folks across Orcas Island heard a boom. Some locals said they saw a flash of light along with it. But the source of this sudden, loud noise has been a mystery to local law enforcement over the past month. And that's because it's hard to track something like a boom.

That's where the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network comes in.

Right now, a couple of seismologists with the network are helping law enforcement decode those mysterious booms around Orcas. They're a bit like detectives, using skills usually dedicated to monitoring earthquakes. Their goal is to pinpoint these rumblings, which are sometimes referred to as "exotic events."

And the "events" aren't limited to just "booms."

Producer Alec Cowan caught up with a seismologist Steve Malone, a research professor emeritus from the University of Washington department of Earth And Space Sciences, and former director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

He's been working to unravel the mystery of "exotic events" here in the Pacific Northwest, and to learn more about the tremors that few people get to know about.

Listen to the full feature on mystery booms and exotic events by clicking the audio above.

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