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Mystery solved: Ballistic missile detonation has Utahns thinking earthquake

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(KUTV) If you thought the earth moved Tuesday in northern Utah, you were right, it did. The same goes for those reporting loud booming noises.

But it wasn't an earthquake in Davis and Weber counties, it was a ballistic missile detonating, according to the Air Force.

The Utah Test and Training Range detonated the third-stage Trident I missile around 12:28 p.m. and said that disposal was most likely the cause of the noise.

KUTV received calls, emails and social media messages asking about an earthquake. Others asked about mystery sounds of a boom. Despite checking with officials, including those who monitor earthquakes, there were no answers until Hill Air Force Base explained.

The Air Force said it checks wind speed and direction and other atmospheric readings to make sure conditions are right for a test. Monday's detonation was "within the allowable permit range.

“With the variability of upper atmospheric weather conditions this time of year, the model does not always accurately predict sound levels along the Wasatch Front,” said Michelle Cottle, chief of the 75th Civil Engineer Group’s Environmental Branch. “We had something similar happen in 2014.”

More than 300 motors have been destroyed at the test range.

Hill Air Force base has more about the detonations on its webpage.

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On Monday, Utah experienced a 3.3 magnitude quake, unrelated to missiles or testing. The Summit County earthquake occurred 4 kilometers south of Summit Park. News of that quake may have prompted Utahns to think about a possible earthquake Tuesday.

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