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Four more Booms heard in Clintonville

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 Clintonville bringing in seismometers to study mysterious booms

by Jessie Van Berkel
Gannett Wisconsin Media

CLINTONVILLE Officials have tried to record a series of mysterious booming sounds that have roused residents from their beds in the past few days, but their attempts have come up empty.

City administrator Lisa Kuss, addressing a crowd of about 400 people Wednesday night at a public hearing to talk about the phenomenon, said the city will spend $7,000 to hire Waukesha-based engineering firm Ruekert & Mielke. The firm will place four seismometers around the city to try to locate the epicenter of the strange sounds.

If the firm finds the epicenter, the next step will be to pinpoint the depth and what is causing it. The cause is likely only a couple hundred feet under the earth's surface, Kuss said.

"It's possible we'll never have a definitive answer," Kuss told the audience at the Clintonville High School auditorium.

The big shakes have elicited big attention, and the room was lined with media including reporters from CNN, NBC and a photographer taking photos for the New York Times.

Kuss displayed maps showing where calls have come in from residents reporting vibrations and booms which they describe as sounding like thunder, underground fireworks or someone slamming a heavy door.

The city set up audio and video recorders overnight Tuesday, but didn't capture anything. There was at least one loud boom at 5 a.m. As of 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, no other noises were reported.

The sounds began Sunday, and reports to police since then have come in from across the city of 4,600 residents. People should keep calling when they feel or hear something, Clintonville Chief of Police Terry Lorge said.

Some residents say their house has been particularly hard-hit.

For Holly Beringer, the vibrations have shaken her home, rattling pictures and dishes. She was in the crowd Wednesday with several of her neighbors, who said they didn't have questions for city officials but were curious to hear if they had any answers.

While city officials haven't pinpointed what is happening, they've ruled out many theories, Kuss said, including issues with the sanitary and storm water systems, changes in methane or propane gas levels, blasting from mines, military activity, criminal activity or construction.

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