Hearing loud bangs in southern Ontario? It was likely an 'ice quake'
Residents across Barrie, Toronto and the GTA are reporting being awoken by loud booms, startling them awake early Friday morning.
Peel region police confirmed they received numerous calls from residents reporting the loud noises, some describing the sounds as banging on rooftops.
Experts believe "frost quakes" or "ice quakes," also known as cryoseisms, are responsible for the noises as temperatures dipped below -20 overnight.
Cryoseisms are rare events that occur after precipitation and bitterly cold temperatures. Water seeps into the ground, freezes and then rapidly expands. The explosive expansion occurs when the pressure gets too great.
CTV Toronto reporter Naomi Parness described the first loud boom at around 3:45 a.m. in the Vaughan area "like a large object hit my roof, almost like a wrecking ball went into the house."
She ran out of bed to make sure her children were safe and looked out the window to see if she could see anything.
She heard another two huge booms shortly thereafter, then more around 6 a.m.
"All my neighbours heard it, it was impossible to sleep through it and it sounded like it was coming from the house. I have never heard a sound like that," she told CTVNews.ca
One man wrote in an email to CP24 that he heard the first boom between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. ET in the Maple area.
"We though it may be something fall on the roof, or someone trying to break in. Then after we heard so many. They were sounded like loud bangs at several intervals. What it could be? But we couldn't sleep the whole night," Kalpesh Shah wrote.
Tweets to @CTVToronto from residents of Rexdale, Belleville, Schomberg, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Kleinburg, Stouffville, Ajax, Oshawa, Brampton, Orangeville, Keswick all related similar stories of booms overnight, some even into Friday morning.
One Tweeter in Bolton, @bradgraham33, described the sounds he heard at 12:30 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. like “two train boxcars hitting each other.”
Another Tweeter, @MCooke2013, described the 2 booms in Schomberg sounding as though "a beam in the house broke it was so loud."
Another Tweeter reported hearing four bangs overnight, forcing him to check his home for intruders.
Meanwhile, Tej Sahota in Brampton described hearing the loudest bang he had heard yet at about 1 a.m.
And in Aurora, @VLAlexander reported counting as many as 14 before she was finally able to get some sleep.
Similar noises were reported north of Toronto late earlier this week and on Christmas Eve. In the GTA, the temperature dropped to about -23C overnight with a wind child of -35.