Plume over New Mexico confounds meterologists, military personnel
POSTED: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 6:31pm
UPDATED: Friday, March 21, 2014 - 2:41pm
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — It's the mystery over New Mexico. A mysterious green blob appeared on weather radar Monday evening over Southern New Mexico and it's baffling everyone from the National Weather Service to the military. The plume originated over White Sands Missile Range in Socorro County and then spread East toward Oklahoma, expanding in size.
It was a clear Monday evening when all of a sudden, a giant, green plume appeared on radar at the National Weather Service. Meteorologists sprang into action. ""It's not weather related and that's what our business is," John Fausett, a Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the NWS said. Theories immediately began to form.
The plume spread East and expanded, covering much of De Baca County - which is more than 2,000 square miles in size. We set out in search of answers, "I would have to read up on it more, I'm not sure," a woman said.
"I don't know it looks like science to me," Julie Kugel, a tourist explained. El Pasoans were just as confounded as we were.
"We don't know exactly what it could be," Fausett reasoned. Although, Fausett has some theories. But admits, the plume is unusual, "There have been suggestions of something called chaffe." Chaffe is something radar picks up from military planes, it's confetti sized metal used to deflect other radar. "Calibrate their own radar, or they'll use it to draw attention to chaffe itself."
Meteorologists say that chaffe, which is right over here is typically streak like, and band like. As opposed to what happened on Monday which is more circular and more dense. "Others say it was weather balloons, or not weather balloons but balloons of some sort," he added.
Fausett said these are just theories so we called Holloman Airforce Base, White Sands Missile Range, Cannon Airforce Base, and New Mexico Tech. All of them gave us the same answer - the plume wasn't caused by them.
"So it could be an explosion?," Kugel questioned.
No weapons tests were being conducted and geologists at UTEP can confirm that. We spoke with a Lead Geologist who said with a missile test, they're usually able to sense it on their seismographs but nothing was recorded Monday night. So the mystery continues.