Frost quakes possible due to arctic blast

Chicago’s lakefront is covered with ice on Jan. 30 2019

Chicago’s lakefront is covered with ice on Jan. 30 2019

As if frozen pipes and frostbite weren't risky enough, some folks are learning about one of the rarer, scarier side effects of super-cold weather: cryoseisms, or "frost quakes".

FOX 8 Meteorologist Andre Bernier says frost quakes are caused when the ground is saturated with water and that water freezes due to a sudden drop in temperature.

"I was scared and thought it was the furnace", one Facebook user wrote.

The outlet says that after posting about the possible quakes on social media, it received "tons" of responses from people who had heard unusual booming noises during the night. The expanding ice causes soil and rocks to crack, resulting in the booms, explains the Chicago's Daily Herald.

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Frost quakes were reported in Pennsylvania this week, according to WHP in Harrisburg, and in the Indianapolis area last week, according to WISH-TV.

In mid-January, reports of frost quakes also popped up in IN and CT when a deep freeze settled in after Winter Storm Harper, reports Brian Donegan for The Weather Channel.

All of the ingredients were certainly there for "frost quakes" to occur in the Midwest Wednesday morning as wind chills plummeted well below zero.

In some cases, people have reportedly "observed actual rivets in the ground after hearing the loud boom of a frost quake", Popular Science reported of the phenomenon. Unless you're right on top of the epicentre, the noises are the worst of it.

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