Frost quake reported in Jefferson County
Area residents have been wondering about a loud boom and jolt experienced around 8:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Donna Smith, who lives in the 700 block of South Eighth Street in Fairfield, said her daughter, Maddie, 14, was at home at the time and reported the boom was forceful enough to shake the house.
“She wasn’t sure what happened, but she came running out of her bedroom,” Smith said. “She told me about it right away when I got home. She heard it and felt it. I think it freaked her out.”
Authorities have yet to confirm what caused the loud boom Wednesday but Fox Valley, Wis., experienced a similar phenomenon one day earlier. A local news station in Fox Valley, 22news WWLP, reported a boom was heard throughout parts of Fond Du Lac and Green Lake counties.
“It wasn’t an earthquake people in Fox Valley, Wis., experienced but it was similar. The phenomenon has to do with the bitter cold,” said the report.
A phenomenon known as a frost quake occurs when the freezing of ground water in the bitter cold temperatures causes some of the frozen ground or even bedrock to break. It’s an event similar to an earthquake, said 22news.
Residents in the area called 911 to report pictures falling off the wall.
“In the upper part of the Midwest, the upper states, and even Canada, they tend to occur within those areas because of the temperatures we see within springtime or even winter areas, so they’re not unheard of, and there are other ice quakes associated with, say, Lake Winnebago. The freezing and expansion and the movement of ice that’s just associated with just the lakes we see out in those areas, too,” concluded 22news.
And WGEM News in Quincy, Ill., reported: “There have been several reports in Maine and across the country of people experiencing a loud noise and shaking outside their homes. The phenomenon is known as a frost quake and it usually happens in the bitter cold temperatures when water drains into the soil or rocks and freezes, cracking the ground. It usually doesn’t damage homes, but the loud noises can give people a bit of a scare.”
Meteorologist Ray Wolf at the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities, who has worked there since 1994, said he had never heard of a frost quake.