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Frost Quake

January 5, 2014 by staff 

Frost Quake, More people across southern Ontario were shocked out of bed in the early hours as more booms rocked their homes.

Early Friday morning, the sounds were heard in the GTA between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.

More #frostquake last night in #Toronto dang BOOMS on my roof!! Keeps waking me up!! errr oh and it’s -32C here colder then on Mars!!

” Kimberly Mallett (@KimberlyMallett) January 3, 2014

Anyone hearing loud booms in north York? #frostquake

” Natalie Ast (@natalieast) January 3, 2014

It seems that the mysterious sounds have set social media afire, with “frostquake” trending on Google and Twitter.

Aftermath of a frostnado? RT @googlecanada: Trending on Google Canada today: #frostquake http://t.co/KY9UkbiJPS

” Leslie Church (@lesliechurch) January 3, 2014

The booms, first heard on Christmas Eve, first set social media abuzz on Christmas Eve. More followed on Dec. 29.

What made the booms particularly interesting was that they were felt over a wide area, from southwestern Ontario all the way to Belleville. However, the times in each location varied.

Frost quakes, or cryoseisms, occur due to freezing temperatures.

Though usually they can occur after a thaw and then rapid melt, the quakes that people felt Friday morning came after a night of deep cold. So could this still be a frost quake? The temperature in Toronto was -15.2 C on Thursday — nowhere near a thaw.

It very well could be a frost quake, even without the melt. Ice isn’t the same at every temperature. Ice around -5 C is more flexible than ice around -20 C. There is the possibility that the colder ice builds up over time and once it reaches an expansion it can crack rock or soil.

Many people are asking why they hadn’t heard of frost quakes before.

So is this anyone else’s first time ever hearing a #frostquake? Why haven’t we heard them in previous years? #icequake #ontario #weather

” Shane Macaulay (@ShaneMacaulay) January 3, 2014

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