Rare 'Frostquake' Probably Jolted Wisconsin

Unusual weather event sounds like 'someone drove into your house'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2016 8:43 AM CST

(Newser) – A weather event that a National Weather Service meteorologist says "[sounds] like someone drove into your house" likely took place in southern Wisconsin on Tuesday night, and it wasn't a tornado, lightning strike, or earthquake. Instead, it was what's called a "frostquake," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, a rare happening in the Badger State that takes place when water that seeps into the ground freezes and expands, fracturing the ground around it.

Although no damage has been called in from the so-called cryoseism, that didn't stop the extreme-weather occurrence from frightening locals. "[Loud] boom and house rumbling at 8:30 here outside of Beaver Dam WI. Crazy. Kids were scared," one resident tweeted. One other possibility for those who heard noises: "[Booms] could have been from Air Force planes on exercise per media," tweeted NWS Milwaukee. (Meanwhile, here's what El Niño has in store for the rest of us this winter.)

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