Scientists call it a cryoseism. The rest of us can stick to the terms frost quake or ice quake. It’s a seismic phenomenon that occurs when groundwater freezes and then cracks loudly. Often it is so loud it’s more of a thunder clap or a boom, accompanied with the sort of tremors you’d associate with an earthquake. They can cause cracks in the ground as long as several kilometres.
Many frost quakes were reported in Canada during the very cold winter of 2013-2014, especially around Toronto. “Around 11pm Christmas Eve, people reported hearing a loud boom,” said the website
Global News. “It rattled houses, leaving many to believe that a tree had fallen on their rooftop. Then again, it could just have been a very noisy Santa.”