Mysterious Booms and Rumblings Around Toronto – December 25 2013

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What did shake houses and create a loud boom in Toronto, Newmarket, Aurora, Belleville, Richmond Hill, and Sutton. A meteor explosion?, An earthquake? An army plane (sonic boom) or even Santa farting? Nobody knows, but almost everybody heard it!

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Frost quakes create loud booms and rumblings aroun Toronto – December 25 2013. Photo: Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star via Getty Images

People in the grand area of Toronto were surprised by a huge detonation at around 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve. As reported by Global News, “Not only was the boom heard, but it rattled houses, leaving many to believe that a tree had fallen on their rooftop.

According to the same source, similar strange and loud booms were heard at other times of the day as well 8 (from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Christmas morning).

So what was it?

Plenty of meteor explosions over the same area would be more than curious. The United States Geological Service (USGS) didn’t record any seismic event in Ontario yesterday, and there were no reports to the American Meteor Society. I believe army pilots are also having dinner with their families on Christmas Eve. And, finally, if he exists, Santa would have had to eat too many beans to produce such explosion-like noises.

Another explanation for these booms, and probably the most likely, is cryoseism or frost quake.

As explained by Nicole Mortillaro from Global News, “cryoseisms are rare, localized seismic events that occur when a sudden drop in temperature freezes the groundwater, which then expands and cracks the soil and rock. The crack will release a sudden burst of explosive energy, resulting in a loud noise and the shaking of the ground. They usually occur between midnight and dawn. Temperatures  north of the city — in Newmarket, Richmond Hill, and Sutton, for example — were a chilly -20 C or colder on Christmas Eve.

In 2000, 12 frost quakes were recorded in two hours in Sadowa, Ontario. Moreover, two similar events took place in southwestern Ohio and Indiana in 2011 and in Ohio in 2007. Here is what people think about the frostquake explanation! What do you think is the source of this still unexplained loud boom?

Thanks to Nicole Mortillaro to submit her article to the Strange Sounds blog!

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I live near Kitchener Ontario which is about an hour West of Toronto. On Christmas Eve I began hearing what sounded like a cracking, creaking, and banging sound in my attic/roof around 10pm.
    I heard this sound every 20 to 40 minutes until I finally fell asleep around 2am.
    I have heard of people reporting the same experience in Guelph, Elmira, Alma, Floradale, and Cambridge.
    I’m not sure I believe the Frost Quake theory and will keep looking into other possible causes.

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