Interesting Cold Weather Phenomenon

January 12th, 2014 at 12:39 pm by under Weather

While we’re not tracking a big arctic blast in the forecast (hard to believe that was the case just a week ago), meteorologists all over the country are still combing through the data associated with our last deep freeze. One of the more interesting things I’ve seen involve reports of a loud “boom” during the frigid conditions. The folks at the Capital Weather Gang explain that this is called a “cryoseismic boom,” sort of a “sonic boom” or “cold boom” that occurs during the coldest thermometer readings.

The boom sound is actually created by a cryoseism, or a mini explosion within the ground caused by the rapid expansion of frozen water. When the temperatures crashed last week, any water or moisture underground was rapidly frozen, creating the boom. The sounds shocked and scared many in the upper Midwest last week because they were unfamiliar and typically occur in Canada and at higher latitudes.

At this point in time, I can’t find any records of cryoseisms, or “cold booms” being reported in the Hoosier State.

Low temperatures on Monday, January 6, 2014. Courtesy: NOAA.

Low temperatures on Monday, January 6, 2014. Courtesy: NOAA.

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