What is a frost quake, do they happen in the UK and are they dangerous?

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FROST quakes have been breaking out across the Midwest and Northeast of America as the polar vortex takes hold.

But just what is this bizarre phenomenon, do we get them in the UK and are they dangerous?

Frost quakes have been adding to the woes of people in the United States
Frost quakes have been adding to the woes of people in the United States
AFP or licensors

What is a frost quake, do they happen in the UK and are they dangerous?

The scientific name for a frost earthquake is cryoseisms.

They are created by small explosions as the ground freezes over after an extreme fall in temperature.

The freeze happens so quickly that moisture suddenly turns into ice.

This then expands and splits — producing booms and a cracking noise

This also causes the ground to shake.

According the US National Weather Service in Nashville, there have been large numbers of reports of frost quakes across the US as it succumbs to the Polar Vortex.

Temperatures have been falling below -40C
Temperatures have been falling below -40C
AFP or licensors

Do frost quake happen in the UK?

There have been no reports of the frost quakes in the United Kingdom.

Most appear to occur in the United States in the Midwestern, Northern and Northeastern areas.

They have also happened in Canada, especially along the Great Lake but also Quebec and Ontario.

Others have been reported in Alaska, Greenland, Iceland and the Antarctic.


Are frost quakes dangerous?

They were described as sounding like gunshots, fireworks, trees cracking and gas explosions.

But even though frost quakes can sound very dramatic, they rarely cause damage.

Occasionally, however, they lead to small cracks in the ground.


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