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Loud booms startle people around Halifax County / January 04, 2021
Residents around Halifax County reported being startled by loud bangs over the holiday weekend, apparently caused by revelers who exploded Tannerite, an aluminum powder compound popular with many firearms enthusiasts.

“I heard about six explosions and the last was one was big enough to rattle my window,” said a resident of South Boston who asked to remain anonymous.

Sheriff Fred Clark said the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office received five separate calls around the county on Friday, reporting loud bangs. “We are pretty sure that is caused by Tannerite but we can’t pinpoint who is responsible for shooting it yet,” said Clark.

“Unfortunately some people are just doing it for fun,” Clark said. “When it goes off it makes a loud bang. I have talked to people that use it to blow up beaver dams and also stumps.”

County residents took to social media this weekend to describe the explosions, and where they could be heard. The sound was heard by several South Boston residents who live near Love Shop Road, near Vaughan Street, to the east on Wolf Trap Road, and toward the south in Cluster Springs. Members of the South Boston Police Department were unavailable over the weekend to comment on whether any reports were received by the SBPD.

Mary Sheffield, who lives near Cluster Springs said, “ I heard three or four explosions, but there could have been more and they rattled my windows.

“I hope we can piece together what this might be,” said Sheffield.

“It was hard to tell what direction the booms came from, but it rattled the front of my house,” said Angel Moore, who lives in South Boston. Moore said she heard three booms.

By combining the two parts, oxidizers and a fuel which is primarily aluminum powder, users can explode Tannerite. When the compound is fired upon by a gun, it explodes along with anything around it.

Beyond target practice, blowing up large amounts of Tannerite has become a source of YouTube entertainment. People will pack dozens of pounds of the compound into junked cars, refrigerators, washing machines, or abandoned barns, causing large blasts.

The warmer weather on Saturday may help explain the long distances the sounds traveled. The inversion of a warm layer of air above ground level may have worked to carry the boom across the county.

Virginia Code 18.2-85 defines Tannerite as an explosive material and a person found guilty of using it recklessly could be charged with a Class 5 felony.

“Whether any particular chemical or compound is explosive material depends on how it is proportioned, packaged, and ignited,” said Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Q. Martin.

In 2019, the Virginia General Assembly voted down HB 1776 to regulate Tannerite. The bill, sponsored by Del. Mark Cole, R-Spotsylvania, would have allowed localities to adopt ordinances prohibiting or regulating the use of Tannerite or a similar explosive in or near residential areas. Violating the ordinance would result in a Class 3 misdemeanor.

The bill failed after delegates raised concerns that the bill needed more clarity on defining a residential community and how far away a person should be from it.

For more information on the Virginia Code regarding explosive materials visit

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What a bunch of Karens! People having fun and someone has to spoil it. Everything is not your business, people would be better off to be less nosey.


Not sure tannerite is to blame for some of the booms we are hearing unless there are folks with pounds and pounds of the stuff mounted on a platform or pole. I have heard artillery that wasn't as loud as what we are hearing in the Virgilina over the last few weeks.

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