User Login    
 + Register
News : Paris, MO Experiences Rare Frost Quake
Posted by Randy on 2014/2/6 4:20:00 (523 reads) News by the same author

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Chuck Herron heard the loud thud, then another and another. It sounded like someone was dropping big snowballs on the roof of his home.

Click to see original Image in a new window

The house is more than 100 years old and creaks, Herron said, but he had "never heard anything like that before."

As his neighbors in tiny Paris, Mo., huddled around televisions Sunday for the Super Bowl, many were startled by similar strange noises. Some even saw flashes of light and called 911.

Scientists say the community experienced a rare natural phenomenon known as a "frost quake," which happens when moisture in the ground suddenly freezes and expands. If conditions are just right, the soil or bedrock breaks like a brittle frozen pipe, generating mysterious noises that range from an earthquake-like rumble to sharp cracking sounds sometimes mistaken for falling trees.

This winter has been ripe for frost quakes, known technically as cryoseism. Temperatures have been frigid, but occasional warm-ups have allowed for thawing. And the temperature swings have sometimes been abrupt.

That was the case last weekend in Missouri, where temperatures in the 40s on Saturday gave way to single-digit readings by Sunday night.

In Mark Twain's hometown of Hannibal, Mo., 100 miles north of St. Louis, police and emergency dispatches received several calls within about two hours. Facebook feeds were filled with worries.

Some people compared the noise to a sonic boom that rattles windows, said Michael Hall, executive director of the 911 center that covers the Hannibal area. Others described it as sounding like "somebody banging on their house."

Missouri isn't alone. Frost quakes were reported last month in Canada and in several other states - Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin.

In DeKalb, Ill., Lisa Kammes and her family were getting ready for bed earlier this winter when the loud popping noises began.

"The louder ones sounded like somebody was throwing snowballs at the house," Kammes said.

Neighbors heard noises too, and several contacted police.

"It wasn't the regular noise you hear when your house is creaking, blowing in the wind or ice is breaking," Kammes said.

The light flashes reported by some people are believed to come from electrical changes that occur when the freezing compresses rocks.

Robert Herrmann of the Saint Louis University Earthquake Center said frost quakes are far different from real earthquakes. Tremors typically occur a mile or two underground. Frost quakes are near the surface and do not show up on seismographs.

"People nearby will probably notice them a lot because they are shallow, but because they do not penetrate deep within the earth, the magnitude will not be large," Herrmann said. "But the process is the same. There is something that is causing rock to move, and as the rock moves, it generates sound waves and the ground motion."

AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said frost quakes are most common in the northern Plains.

"It has to get suddenly colder," Sosnowski said. "If you have a mild winter, you're probably not going to have a lot of this going on."

Experts say damage is rare but homeowners who experience a frost quake should check for foundation cracks and watch for damage to water and natural gas lines.

Damage is not common, but it happens. In Waupun, Wis., a frost quake last month created a 100-foot crack in a driveway. Homeowner Dennis Olssen told authorities the boom was so loud he thought it was an explosive until he learned that neighbors experienced the same thing.

Kammes said the noise on that otherwise quiet night was so alarming that her husband went outside to make sure no one had damaged the home.

"When we found out what it was," she said, "it was actually a relief."

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article


Other articles
2014/10/24 10:28:48 - Solar Farm Topic Of Economic Development Meeting
2014/10/24 10:25:45 - Livingston County Library Encourages Reading To Young Children
2014/10/24 10:23:16 - Festival Of Trees Fund-Raiser Set For November 28th
2014/10/24 10:18:02 - Bogard Woman Seriously Injured In Accident
2014/10/24 10:13:53 - Unionville Man Injured In Accident South Of Unionville
2014/10/24 4:42:51 - 5 Ways To Tell If Someone Is Cheating On You
2014/10/24 4:29:07 - Six Bodies Identified After Decades In Oklahoma Lake
2014/10/24 4:24:30 - Peyton Manning Rips Broncos' Scoreboard Operator
2014/10/24 4:20:18 - How To Teach Kids To Be Nice Online
2014/10/24 4:14:12 - Police: Missouri Inmate Who Attempted Suicide Dies
2014/10/24 4:09:40 - 1 Taken To Hospital After Being Hit By Train
2014/10/24 4:05:48 - 8-Year Old Scores Touchdown, Team Fined $500, Coach Suspended
2014/10/23 10:42:45 - Disaster Declaration Requested For North Missouri Counties
2014/10/23 10:38:01 - THS Marching Band And Color Guard To Hold Recognition Program
2014/10/23 10:35:23 - Snow Removal Bids Sought
2014/10/23 6:38:04 - Trenton Chamber Ambassadors To Hold Annual Halloween Trick Or Treat Night
2014/10/23 6:30:41 - Chillicothe Firefighters Respond To Vehicle Fire
2014/10/23 6:26:35 - Meadville Teen Hurt In Accident East Of Laredo
2014/10/23 6:23:59 - Spickard Man Injured In Accident East Of Gallatin
2014/10/23 4:46:44 - Giant Gold Nugget To Be Sold In San Francisco
2014/10/23 4:30:00 - The Worst Things To Buy At Walmart
2014/10/23 4:17:35 - Iowa Man Pleads Guilty To Missouri Bank Robbery
2014/10/23 4:09:49 - UK Man Faked Coma For 2 Years To Avoid Court
2014/10/23 4:04:17 - Wife Of Wade Davis Forks Over World Series Tickets As Tip To Server
2014/10/23 4:00:50 - FBI Confiscates Hot-Selling Royals Panties
2014/10/22 6:42:06 - Missouri Livestock Symposium To Be Held In Kirksville December 5th
2014/10/22 4:52:49 - Dead Babies In Winnipeg Storage Unit 'Tragic Beyond Belief'
2014/10/22 4:43:12 - Two Sunken Vessels From World War II Were Just Found Off The North Carolina Coast
2014/10/22 4:34:36 - Partial Solar Eclipse to Darken US Skies Thursday
2014/10/22 4:26:06 - Homeless Man Victim Of Knock-Out Game Attack



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Listen to KTTN-FM