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Rare frost quake watch issued for GTA

Last Updated Feb 11, 2016 at 4:55 pm EDT

A sudden and severe temperature plunge combined with a lack of snow means the conditions are ripe for frost quakes in parts of southern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area over the next few days.

A frost quake produces loud booms when trapped water expands, causing bedrock to crack.

They may sound ominous, but CityNews meteorologist Adam Stiles wants you to know they’re nothing to worry about.

Kinda like Leafs forward Nazem Kadri, a frost quake is more bark than bite.

“They may be loud and scary, but they’ve never done any damage and no one’s ever been reported to be hurt or injured by a frost quake, so there’s no real concerns or threats,” Stiles said after the Climate Lab at the University of Toronto issued a relatively rare frost quake watch for the GTA on Thursday.

Stiles explained how the loud booms, also known as cryoseisms, are generated.

“What happens is since we’ve had some warm weather there’s water in our ground, and it seeps down deep into the ground and now that we’re getting this cold air coming through…the ground starts to freeze but as it freezes deep within the bedrock the water expands, which creates cracks in the rock which creates that loud boom.”

“It’s not an earthquake,” he added.

frost quake

Southern Ontario endured frost quakes in January of 2014 and 2015.