Monday, September 01, 2014

Mystery Booms Explained

Screencap from YouTube video. 

(C) 2014 Luke T. Bush


The other day I was speaking with a woman who was wondering what was causing the loud booms heard in her area.  I speculated it could be meteors suddenly breaking up high in the sky.

Actually the source behind the booms is down to earth.  Too down to earth.

It's someone who likes to have a real blast at his parties.

It wasn't the local mainstream media who uncovered the story but Press-Republican columnist and Home Town Cable TV host Gordie Little who shared his investigations into the matter via his Facebook page.  He's been waiting for the real (as such) news outlets to pick up the story.

The booms disturbing the Schuyler Falls - Morrisonville area are created by Tannerite targets.  Tannerite is the brand name for a patented binary explosive, i.e., an explosive created by mixing in two substances before use.

Tannerite is a combination of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powders.  The mix is relatively stable until set off from a detonator like a high velocity bullet.  Standing a (hopefully) safe distance away a shooter can create a loud explosion depending upon how much Tannerite is packed into his target.

The bigger the Tannerite package the greater the sound — and destruction.

You encounter interesting hits by Googling "Tannerite targets" under the video search option.   All sorts of things have been blown up from cars to houses to hogs.  Parts and pieces flying through the air.

After 9/11 you would think that Tannerite would be under strict control.  The explosive is somewhat regulated.  It's illegal to transport Tannerite in its final mixed state but not the two substances used to create it.  Loophole: each substance by itself is not an explosive, ergo, they can be legally purchased under present ATF regulations when sold separately.

Gordie Little has been listing the booms he has heard by time and date at his Facebook page.  He says that both State Police and the Sheriff's offices are aware of the Tannerite fan.   This wouldn't be allowed in the Town of Plattsburgh, he notes, but so far the township from where the booms are originating hasn't done anything about the disturbances.

Maybe it's another legal loophole.  It could be the Town of Schuyler Falls has no noise ordinance to address the problem.

I just hope we don't see a YouTube video of an overconfident Tannerite fan transforming himself into flying bits.


Anonymous said...

These tannerite targets are so loud where I live that my house shakes and my windows rattle. It scares my dogs and cat to the point that when they hear a gunshot they run for another room even of there is no explosion! It has scared them that much! These should be illegal.

Anonymous said...

The location is close to Morrisonville Elementary School. Although the explosions are usually at night if for some reason it is done during the day the school children would be very upset. The booms scarce my young children at home and we can comfort them, but a school building full of children would be difficult. Are there any laws about using them within a certain area of a school?