This winter, whole Toronto and Ontario have witnessed a natural weather phenomenon which has waked them up during nights and frightened them in the day hours because of the loud bangs caused by “frost quakes”.

When the cold weather hit Canada, night temperature was reported to be below -4f in many nights in these areas. People have heard big bangs and booms like gunshots being fired and shaky grounds as in earth quakes.

A meteorologist with the Weather Network, Dayna Vettese said, “It’s almost like an earthquake because it’s very close to the surface. You will feel a little bit of shaking, maybe if you’re sitting in a chair and it happened, or you’re lying in bed, or some of your dishes might rattle.”

This natural process is common in Polar Regions and more common to be occurred in glaciers. Rain water and ice go down into the earth normally, but freeze when temperature is very low; this leads to frost quakes.

Mostly, this phenomenon occurs when there is storm or heavy snow or rainfall. At that time, there is too much water to get absorb in the soil and to freeze.


“We had the ice storm or freezing rain event, then we had warm temperatures, or just about freezing at the surface. Then the temperatures plummeted after that,” said Vettese. “That’s why we’ve seen a couple of these events between the ice storm and the beginning of 2014.”

After Christmas, in Toronto, there was a drop down in temperature. This has melted down the ice into the soil. Then again intense decline in temperature led to freezing of this water which tears ground apart which causes these bangs.

During that time, social media became full of the Canadian experiences of loud bangs, rattles and booms, which the citizens have witnessed this winter.

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