What the heck are Frost Quakes and are they dangerous?

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Extreme cold causes bizarre things to happen, and that was the case Wednesday in Chicago when a series of loud booms were reported. The temps in Chicago fell to 23 below zero early Wednesday, one of the coldest readings ever recorded in the city.

What Chicago inhabitants heard were likely “frost quakes,” also known by the dull geological term”cryoseisms.” They occur when a quick drop in temperature leads to a fast freeze, which leads to the rock or soil to burst instead of just slowly enlarge, according to meteorologist Keith Heidorn.

The quick bursting sounds such as noisy quake, together with possible vibration.  Many people think their homes are being broken into or gunshots are being terminated.  Frost quakes are too small to be picked up with a seismograph, so they’re difficult to prove, geologist Jeri Jones of Jones Geological Services said last year.

Jones stated they just be heard of 300 feet away. Dave Call, a meteorologist at Ball State University, said to believe of a jar of liquid at a freezer, expanding and bursting. “It is more of a sound phenomenon, like a balloon popping, than a bodily danger,” Call said
earlier this month.

He compared frost quakes to the familiar phenomenon of potholes: Water seeps into cracks in the sidewalk, freezes and expands. Chastity Clark Baker stated on Facebook, based on WGN.

“I had been up all night because I kept hearing it. I was scared and believed it was the furnace.”

Regrettably, frost quake damage normally is not covered by a homeowners insurance policy. Folks in Chicago, and elsewhere in the Midwest, shortly won’t have to worry about frost quakes as temperatures soar into the 30s and 40s by the weekend.

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