Cryoseisms in Alberta


On the night of January 1, 2018, icequakes occurred near Gull Lake, Pigeon Lake, Wabamun Lake, and Lac Ste. Anne. These icequakes caused ground movement with local magnitudes (ML) close to 2.0 and were felt by nearby residents.  Residents reported hearing loud boom (or popping) sounds and felt ground shaking that rattled houses – loud and intense enough to wake them from sleep.  That night, the temperature drastically increased from about -28°C to -6°C. This caused lake ice to expand and rupture violently, creating ice ridges up to 1 m or more in height along parts of the shorelines of all these lakes. Ices ridges were also found at Baptiste Lake.  In some places kilometre-long ice ridges formed many metres offshore; elsewhere the ice buckled directly on the shore, thrusting slabs of lake ice onto landowners' properties. For more pictures about this event see: The Power of Lake Iceand for more information on the event see: A New Year’s Day Icebreaker: Icequakes on Lakes in Alberta, Canada.

Frostquakes are also reported in Alberta. The most recent one occurred in Calgary on May 4,2014. Calgarians residing in the northwest part of the city heard loud noises and felt ground shaking. 

Sometimes cryoseisms can go unnoticed by the media and the general public because they have low impact on the surrounding area and/or their locations are remote. This was the case with two frostquake events that happened near Cold Lake in the early 2000s.