A loud bang heard in northern Utah was caused by the Air Force detonation, officials said

Similar detonations will occur regularly on Mondays and Tuesdays throughout September, Hill Air Force Base officials said.

(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Warning sign when entering the Utah Test and Training Range in western Utah.

The Air Force destroyed an “obsolete rocket motor” in a large detonation early in the afternoon Monday, according to a news release from Hill Air Force Base. The blast occurred at the Utah Test and Training Range, about 80 miles west of Salt Lake City.

Detonations are typically performed to get rid of obsolete rocket motors as efficiently as possible, said Hill Air Force Base spokesman Kendahl Johnson. It’s not an irregular event, but today’s detonation was larger and may have caused residents of northern Utah to feel some vibration and shaking.

A less noisy way to destroy the engines is to flush them out with liquid, but that can result in dangerous discharges into the environment, Johnson said.

“If there was a better way, we would do it,” Johnson said.

According to the base’s website, more than 300 rocket motors have been destroyed at the training ground since 2012. Currently, the Utah Test and Training Range is the only location where the Air Force is permitted to destroy the engines by detonation.

Such explosions will continue to occur regularly on Mondays and Tuesdays and possibly Wednesdays throughout September. While the blast happened around noon Monday, no specific time has been set for future detonations because the Air Force relies on good weather conditions to destroy the engines, Johnson said.

Justin Scaccy

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