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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.”

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