Frost Quake Incident Disputed By Seismic Expert in Pennsylvania

A mysterious loud cracking noise reported near a construction site in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania ranked among the latest purported frost quake incidents in early 2015.

Area news station WGAL.com reported that Matt Moore, a staff meteorologist, believed the sound might have been caused by a cryoseism, describing their occurrence thusly:

“[W]hen ground water travels below the surface and freezes. When the water melts there is a void and the ground can come together,  similar to an earthquake.”

One construction site located near Marshall College shocked crews on site, who were dismantling a metal bridge. The employees with the company, F&M, were told that what they experienced was a frost quake.

One of the employees gave the following description of the incident:

“No one was hurt, but it was loud. It sounded like a bomb. I was never near it, but I have heard descriptions of it. I felt the ground shake, the guys on the ground, it looked like they were pushed. The fire marshal was out here, and said it was not caused by what the workers were doing.”

News anchor Susan Shapiro noted during a live report that she had contacted Dr. Charles K. Scharnberger, a retired scientist and expert on Seismicity, Earthquake history and hazard, and Geologic structure of SE Pennsylvania at Millersville University. Scharnberger, despite the convenience of the frost quake explanation, remained skeptical, based on a lack of seismic data available at Millersville University and the F&M site to support the occurrence of a cryoseism.

 

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