About a year ago, we reported on mysterious booms in North Carolina. Now they’re back.

In early January, a huge boom actually shook houses and rattled windows along the Carolina coast. Local TV channel WECT and sound technician Alex Markowski, who teaches at the University of North Carolina recorded the boom on tape. Markowski picked up the low frequency sounds on his special recording equipment.

Kim Lehman reports on the WECT TV 6 website that some people say the booms sound like a single loud bang, while others describe them as a series of explosions. This phenomena is known as the “Seneca Guns,” and has been going on for hundreds of years. The name comes from Seneca Lake in New York, where the same sorts of sounds have been heard for years. Author James Fenimore Cooper called these booms the Seneca Guns in one of his short stories. Scientists say they are not earthquakes, thunder or sonic booms caused by supersonic planes, which are not allowed to fly across the continent.

Scientists speculate that the booms come from methane gas exploding on the ocean floor, which would be a result of global warming. A sudden burst of methane into the atmosphere led to the last period of extreme global warming 15,000 years ago. The booms give rise to the suspicion that this could be happening again.

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