Hear a loud "boom" Christmas Eve? It might have been a rare frost quake
Thursday, December 26, 2013, 1:23 PM -
Did you hear a loud "boom in the distance on Christmas Eve? It might have been a rare "frost quake."
Several of our viewers tweeted The Weather Network asking about the loud noise, which was reported late Tuesday night in and around locations in the Greater Toronto Area.
@weathernetwork many people in Guelph area report hearing a loud boom last night 10:30-11:00pm. Any word on what it was?— Emma (@violet0811) December 25, 2013
This Peterborough source says that residents in that city also experienced it around 2 a.m. as well.
Although some speculated it was an earthquake, the United States Geological Survey, which reports global seismic activity, did not detect a tremblor in that area.
Instead, those who heard it may have witnessed a very rare "frost quake."
Also known as cryoseisms, these occur when extreme cold temperatures freeze water deep in the soil. As it freezes, it expands, sometimes causing enough built up pressure that the ground cracks, occasionally with enough force to cause a loud "boom" sound.
And as it happens, much of southern Ontario was in fact in the grip of a blast of freezing air on Christmas Eve and early Christmas Morning, that made for some of the coldest temperatures experienced in the province this month.
That cold air meant the centimetres of ice built up on power lines and trees made things difficult for hydro crews working to restore power to the tens of thousands of customers still in the dark after the weekend's ice storm.