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What is a Frostquake?

Ever wondered what a frostquake is and where they happen? Well, read on to find out... Frostquakes occur when temperatures that have dropped below freezing affect water trapped underground. The sudden expansion and movement of the ground can result in the ground being cracked. Along with subzero temperatures rapidly freezing the underground water, four main factors come into play to form frostquakes: 1. deeply saturated soil - this occurs in areas where there has been a great deal of precipitation, in some form, over a short period and has saturated the ground deep down. The severity of the cracking depends on the amount of present water. 2. quick freeze regions have more frost quakes - frost is formed from molecules of water that are present in the air when temperatures fall to subzero levels quickly. These are needed to create frostquakes. 3. temperatures drop to subzero quickly - when the temperature drops quickly, within 12 to 48 hours, any water that has collected below the surface of the ground freezes solid and quickly expands. This cracks the ground around the solid ice formation. 4. only a small amount of snow - an amount of 6 inches of snow is enough to keep the freezing air from affecting the ground when there is a sudden temperature drop. This will prevent frostquakes from happening.

Vibrations from frostquakes are not felt above ground. But they do produce loud booms which can wake someone from a deep sleep. Also, the booms can be recorded on a seismograph. Frostquakes commonly occur in Alaska, Canada, the Northeastern United States, Iceland and other locations where the necessary weather conditions occur.

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