Martinsburg police, residents seeking source of recent blast

MARTINSBURG – Police in Martinsburg have enlisted public help in identifying a “ground-shaking” blast that drew attention Wednesday afternoon across Morrisons Cove.

The apparent early afternoon explosion – at least the second to spur emergency calls over the past year in the Cove – seems to have originated somewhere northeast of Martinsburg, police said.

“The game wardens don’t know, and we don’t know,” Martinsburg Officer Stephen Weyandt said of the blast’s cause. “Everybody’s been looking.”

Officers searched for a source but found nothing. By 4:30 p.m., police took to Facebook to request information on the blast.

Several Cove residents, some as far as Roaring Spring, noted that they’d heard or felt the mysterious blast. One respondent said two explosions could be heard Wednesday, one about 7:30 a.m. and a second in the afternoon.

The noises are more common than some would believe, said Josh Reed of Martinsburg, who recalled hearing similar sounds periodically last year.

“I know a lot of people who hear them all the time,” Reed said by phone Wednesday.

Reed said he suspects quarry blasting or farmers using dynamite, but the strange times in which he’s heard some blasts could make that explanation less clear.

Martinsburg police noted that a similar explosion caused emergency calls last year.

The phenomenon isn’t limited to the Cove: News articles and online lists show frequent reports of unexplained “booms,” with some later explained as earthquakes and meteorites. One witness pointed to a jet plane’s sonic boom as a possible cause.

“Yes, there was one last year … we couldn’t determine where it came from,” officers said in an online post. “Hopefully with the help of our Facebook fans we can get to the bottom of this mystery.”