CLEVELAND — Did you hear a loud boom or banging sound recently? What you heard may be a cryoseism, commonly known as a “frost quake,” caused by the brutal cold hitting the Midwest.
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. Then, the water expands.
The expansion and pressure build-up causes stress on the frozen soil and rocks around it which can create a boom noise.
Frost quakes, however, are hyper-local. This means that a quake experienced at your home may not be felt by your neighbor, Bernier says.
Residents in Cleveland, as well as cities across the Midwest, are reporting that they heard these quakes Tuesday night and Wednesday.
“I thought I was crazy! I was up all night because I kept hearing it,” Chicago-area resident Chastity Clark Baker told our affiliate, WGN. “I was scared and thought it was the furnace. I kept walking through the house. I had everyone’s jackets on the table in case we had to run out of here.”
Frost quakes are fairly common in subzero temperatures and, though they can be startling, do not pose a threat to your home.
**Watch the video, above, for more on just how cold it is in Cleveland**