Sunday, January 19, 2014

Recent Booms, Ice Quakes?

Wednesday Evening Update:
Here is my full interview with Geologist Dr. Thomas Schmidlin from Kent State. He explains the process and conditions favorable for frost (ice) quakes to occur in the WPSD Local 6 area. He does believe that frost quakes are one possibility or explanation for all of the "booms" being heard last week and says we may hear more in the coming very cold days. Rather than giving you a short snippet of his interview, I felt it was more beneficial to allow you to hear his entire explanation to help you understand the science behind this rare phenomenon.

Photo by viewer Mike Cornwell
Monday Evening Update:
Did a little more "digging" today and found almost an exact same story on these ice quakes published by Wayne Hart at the Evansville TV station. He interviewed Dr. Thomas Schmidlin, a former geology professor of mine from Kent State University, confirming the thoughts both Wayne and I were having concerning the loud booms. Hopefully I will get the chance to interview Schmidlin myself on Tuesday so I can put together a news story for the viewers of Local 6. Thanks to those of you giving me valuable information concerning when and where you are hearing the booms!

Here is a link to Wayne Hart's story in the Carmi Times:

Sunday Evening:
Over the past 2 days there have been several reports from McCracken and Livingston Counties in Western Kentucky of "booms" being heard. While local responders cannot find foul play or any physical evidence that public safety is at risk, it may have a meteorological/geological explanation. 
"A cryoseism, also known as an ice quake or a frost quake, may be caused by a sudden cracking action in frozen soil or rock saturated with water or ice. As water drains into ground, it may eventually freeze and expand under colder temperatures, putting stress on its surroundings. This stress builds up until relieved explosively in the form of a cryoseism.
Ice quakes are not like the earthquakes we sometimes feel along the New Madrid Seismic Zone. They are alike in the sounds they can sometimes produce. Thundering or booming sounds are common and the pressure is released when the water/soil expands. Unlike New Madrid earthquakes, the intensity is very localized close to the epicenter of the expansion. 
It has been a wet winter thus far and with dangerously cold, below zero temperatures just a few weeks ago, this roller coaster ride to warmer and colder temperatures may provide us a possible answer to these mysterious booms. 


  1. Makes sense especially for the Grand Rivers, Livingston county areal. The gravel pit located on Highway 62 has explosions all the time. But nothing like what is happening in the last two days. The ground shakes when they are blasting. No ground shaking only the loud booms. Thanks for setting us straight.

  2. I can see where this makes sense. I moved to southern Mississippi 2 years ago from Kentucky. This past fall we experienced the same booming noises down here and it was not cold. Nobody could explain it but we heard them all over this town and the surrounding towns heard them as well. There was never an answer as to what they were.

  3. I have heard them several times in Cape Girardeau, Missouri... They are very loud and have woke me up a few times.