https://www.foxweather.com/weather-news/sc-sound-investigation-what-responsible-sonic-boomResidents of South Carolina were treated to a surprise Tuesday morning as a loud boom made its presence felt and heard throughout the state.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division received reports from Greenville, Columbia and Charleston regarding the loud noise and reached out to several agencies to figure out what was responsible.
These boom stories are not all that uncommon in the conspiracy world, but this particular one caught my attention. According to the cited article, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division claims the boom was reported in Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville. If you look at the map of SC, Charleston and Greenville are on opposite sides of the state (roughly 200 miles), with Columbia close to being equidistant between them. That tells me the blast sound carried at least 100+/- miles.
The articles seemingly eliminates a number of potential sources (pre-announced military exercise, meteor, earthquake), but surprisingly omitted an obvious explanation....a supersonic a/c breaking the sound barrier. There are at least two military air bases in SC (Shaw AFB and Beaufort MCAS) that operate supersonic aircraft (F-16s/F-18s), plus any number of transient a/c that could have over flown the state. The question is how far does the sound of a sonic boom carry? I've heard lots of them, especially as a youngster, but never gave much thought as to the aircrafts' relative location/distance from me.
I'm neither an atmospheric scientist nor an acoustic physicist, but remembering sound abides by the inverse square law, I'd think a boom heard over such distances must have originated fairly high in the atmosphere and been very energetic. With given assumptions, is there any way to quantify how loud the boom was at its source?