Exploding target a possible source of mystery ‘boom’


We’re working to figure out what exactly caused the mysterious “booms” viewers called us about, but many people suspect they were binary explosives. The home explosives are known under the brand name Tannerite.

“It’s basically mixing a fuel and an oxidizer,” said Ryan Morris, the president of Tripwire, which provides explosives training to military and law enforcement. “You’re basically using a high explosive formulation.” 

Tannerite is one of a few possible causes of the tremor that rocked Lebanon County homes on New Year’s Eve.

“Almost every agency in Lebanon County was receiving some sort of notification of a boom,” North Annville police Chief Matthew Bartal said.

Dispatchers say the sound was too widespread and strong to be fireworks, but the case was closed since there was no known damage. 

Facebook users have told us about similar incidents in York, Perry and Mifflin counties. 

Morris showed us how Tannerite only takes a couple minutes to prepare.

A lot of hunters use Tannerite for target practice. 

But Morris warns that binary explosives are more than just a headache for neighbors. They can be extremely dangerous.

“If you were to put one, two pounds of it, put it in a vehicle, it can cause massive devastation,” said Morris. “It can blow the car up. It can cause bodily injury and/or harm.”

In 2016, a Pennsylvania state representative proposed a bill to ban explosive rifle targets but the measure became stuck in committee.

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