Breakdown: Why the polar vortex created ice quakes

Breakdown: Why the polar vortex created ice quakes

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The arctic air impacting the Northern Part of the country is causing loud booms that are startling residents in and around the Great Lake’s region.

In this episode of the Breakdown, we explain what is causing the booms that people are hearing in the freezing cold temperatures.

Cryoseism, also known as an ice quake, is a seismic event that can cause a sudden cracking action in frozen soil or rock saturated with water or ice.

It occurs is when extremely cold air moves over a region, like the -20 to -30 degree temperatures they are seeing in the Great Lakes.

In the ground beneath the snow pack there is still liquid water and when that really cold air comes over the top of that snow pack it can penetrate the snow pack and reach into the ground.

That will freeze the water rapidly in the ground, thus forming ice, and that will expand the soil very quickly.

As the expansion of the ground happens it will make loud booming sounds, almost like an earthquake sound, but this is the booming of the ground expanding as the water rapidly freezes.

Both Tennessee and Missouri have reported ice quakes, but these events are most prevalent in areas around the Great Lakes, Alaska and points around New England.

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