40ºF

Frost quakes cause loud booms in parts of the Midwest

Extreme cold air causes frost quakes in recent days.

photo

ROANOKE, Va. – Extreme cold over the northern U.S. has stolen headlines in recent days. Temperatures have been below zero in Chicago since Tuesday evening. 

That kind of cold has caused cryoseisms, or frost quakes, to form. Contrary to how it sounds, frost quakes do not cause any kind of damage or injury. 

How do they form?

You first start with cracks in the soil filled with water. 

photo

Then, you factor in the really cold air. Air temperatures in Chicago (and surrounding areas) have been anywhere between -15° and -30°. That cold air causes the water in the soil to freeze and expand.

photo

When that expansion happens, it causes loud booms to occur. These are heard most often at night.

photo

They're nothing to worry about, as they don't hit or strike like earthquakes do. These also are unlikely in our area, as the coldest air will be leaving the area after Thursday.


About the Author: