Meteor Shower Startles Sierra Nevada Residents

SIERRA NEVADA (KCBS/AP) – A passing meteor shower surprised thousands of residents over the Sierra Nevada on Sunday morning, as a large and loud boom was heard throughout the region.

The sound of the explosion around 8 a.m. prompted a flood of calls to law enforcement agencies on both sides of the Sierra Nevada, in Nevada and California.

The explosion rattled windows and shook houses from Reno to Winnemucca in Nevada and from Sacramento to Bakersfield in California.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

National Weather Service Meteorologist Stefanie Henry said this type of event is not that uncommon.

“The loud noises that people are hearing, we believe it has to do with the rapid particles combusting and exploding because they’re heating up so rapidly and so quickly as they enter our atmosphere,” Henry said.

But Bing Quock, the assistant director of the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, said he’s still not certain that was the cause.

“It’s not inconceivable. It’s entirely possible a large chunk of material may be associated with the Lyrid meteor shower,” he said. “It might have been big enough to generate such a sound. But I think we need to get more information about this first.”

Dan Ruby of the Fleischmann Planetarium at the University of Nevada, Reno, said the reports indicate the meteor broke up above Earth somewhere over the Sierra southwest of Reno.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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