Icequakes and Frostquakes: Cryoseism

Icequakes and Frostquakes: Cryoseism

Ice ridge on Lac Ste. Anne

 

On January 1, 2018, Alberta experienced icequakes near Gull Lake, Pigeon Lake, Wabamun Lake, and Lac Ste. Anne. These icequakes were local magnitude (ML) near 2.0 and residents felt the ground movement.  Residents said they heard loud boom (or popping) sounds and felt ground shaking that rattled houses – loud and intense enough to wake them from sleep.

Icequakes and frostquakes are the two forms of cryoseisms – ground shaking events where frozen soil, ice, or rock suddenly cracks within the top few metres because of quick changes in the stress (from expansion or contraction). A major event may cause a fracture visible on the ground, ground shaking, tremors, vibrations, or explosive noises easily confused with an earthquake. This type of ground shaking event is not an earthquake. Earthquakes occur much deeper in the ground and are not associated with cold periods. Learn more about:

Temperature related ground movement and cryoseisms Evidence of cryoseisms Cryoseisms in Alberta
Temperature Related Ground Movement and Cryoseism Evidence of Cryoseism Cryoseism in Alberta Alberta's Earthquakes