The Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office said it was inundated with phone calls early yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon around 1:45 p.m., with concerned citizens reporting a “huge” explosion.
“We have checked it out and it was nothing more than Tannerite near Chester Gap,” Sheriff Connie Compton told the Rappahannock News through a spokesperson. “People set it up and hit it with bullets, and it sounds like a loud explosion.”
Reverberation from the loud blast could be “heard and felt” as far as 30 miles away, including in Rixeyville, Amissville and Tiger Valley.
Tannerite is the patented name of a binary explosive target used primarily for firearms practice. It is created by mixing two powders, most commonly ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder.
Bans on exploding targets like Tannerite have been put into effect throughout the country as conditions warrant. In recent years, for instance, the U.S. Forest Service has banned the targets in western states out of wildfire and safety concerns.
“I felt it in Tiger Valley near Washington,” Rappahannock resident Ken Norman took to social media to report yesterday. “I wonder if it was another earthquake?”
“Yes, it shook our house,” said Erika Sinnott of Flint Hill.