Loading articles...

Frost quakes heard across the GTA

This graphic explains what causes the frost quakes which have been reported in the GTA since an ice storm on Dec. 21-22, 2013. CITYNEWS

Did a loud boom wake you up on Thursday night? It might have been a frost quake.

Peel police told 680News they received more than 100 calls from people claiming they heard what sounded like gunshots outside their home. Some even reported they felt the ground move.

“About 1:30 in the morning, it sounded like a gunshot,” a Brampton resident told CityNews.

“I was asleep. I looked out the window; didn’t know what it was … I heard it once more after that. It just sounded like a complete gunshot to me.”

CityNews meteorologist Natasha Ramsahai said a frost quake is caused when rain and ice seep down into the soil and then freezes when temperatures drop.

Also known as cryoseisms, frost quakes do happen frequently after ice storms but have been rare in the GTA.

“Obviously it’s been over 40 years since the GTA has had an ice storm so we haven’t had reports of a cryoseism in the city for at least that long,” Ramsahai said last month, after frost quakes were reported on Christmas Eve.

“Water expands when it freezes and when it expands in frozen soil it literally puts a lot of stress on that dirt and will release that energy all of a sudden, very much like an earthquake releases that energy and shifts the ground,” she said.

GTA residents took to Twitter on Jan. 3, 2013 after hearing frost quakes overnight. See the reaction below.