What would you do if you heard a giant boom and you didn’t know where it came from? If you’re like thousands of people in Portland, Oregon, you might hit Twitter and Google Maps to participate in the city-wide exploration of a slightly frightening mystery. Last night at about 8 p.m., people in a big part of the city felt their windows shake and no one could tell them what caused it.
Was it a sonic boom? An angry deity? Even the mayor himself tweeted this morning that he was looking into the sound. In the meantime, thousands of people were using the hashtag #pdxboom and adding themselves to a hastily configured Google Map showing where they lived and how loud the boom had been there. In just a few hours, a pattern emerged, with reports clustering around one city park. This morning the police found a detonated pipe bomb there and cited the Google Map in their announcement.