Loud Cracks & Frost Quakes in Smithsonian Mag

Back in January of 2014, the blog at Smithsonian Mag featured a short article on cryoseisms as they relate to loud, mystery sounds occurring at night.

The piece was featured around the time that the record cold temperatures during the winter of 2013-2014 had begun to cause renewed interest in frost quakes in North America.

Among the more salient points featured in the piece are a few key facts:

  • Frost quakes, despite the name, aren’t related to earthquakes
  • Seismic monitors can, however, detect frost quakes (see image below)
  • Frost quakes typically occur when temperatures reach -4F (source: Natural Resource Canada)

Below is a waveform that shows how a frost quake, recorded in Ontario, looks graphically (courtesy of Natural Resource Canada / earthquakescanada.nrcan.gc.ca).



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