A series of explosion-like sounds rattled residents of the GTA over the Christmas break, left many wondering what this phenomena may be. Geologists say the booms were a phenomenon commonly known as an ice quake, frost quake, or cryoseism. It’s caused by water that sinks into the soil and bedrock where it freezes and expands, causing an explosive popping sound that feels like a mild earthquake.
The arctic blast, or polar vortex, that created a deep freeze across North America this week, shattered century-old temperature records. The polar vortex refers to winds that whip around the polar ice cap, trapping Earth’s coldest temperatures there.