We’ve been as fascinated as anyone else about the strange news coming out of Clintonville, Wisc. this week. Residents in the small town have been hearing mysterious booming noises in the wee hours of the morning.
It may be a stretch to consider this an economic story, but Clintonville is being flooded by out of town reporters, who must have some kind of economic impact. And at least one engineering firm is getting business from it.
Plenty of people online also speculate that “fracking” could be behind the mysterious noises. Hydraulic fracturing, the natural gas drilling method usually just called “fracking,” did play a role in a series of earthquakes near Youngstown, Ohio. The U.S. Geological Survey just confirmed that there is small seismic activity behind the Clintonville booms - tiny tremors that only measure 1.5 in magnitude. But town officials say they’ve ruled out most man-made causes for the tremors (the closest known fracking operation is about 20 miles from Clintonville).
That leaves natural causes as a possible explanation. Accuweather.com says the Midwest’s abnormally warm spring could be playing a role, as ice in the ground quickly melted and the soil suddenly settled.
But one of the biggest questions, of course, is whether these noises are something to be worried about.