Ice quakes occur when water sinks into the soil, freezes and expands The expansion causes a popping sound that can sound like gunshots and even feel like an earthquake By Daily Mail Reporter As the temperatures dropped there were reports of loud cracks and booms across West Michigan on the morning of Feb. 8, 2019. CLEVELAND — Did you hear a loud boom or banging sound recently? The loud sounds were actually caused by a natural phenomenon known as "cryoseism," also known as an "ice quake" or "frost quake." Frost quakes are caused by a sudden cracking action in frozen soil or rock saturated with water or ice. “If it’s a big enough break it’ll cause a noise and that’ll be the first quake," said Talor Walsh, geologist at Millersville University. That scary sound could be a frost quake — also known as a cryoseism — and it happens when rain and ice seep into the soil, then freeze and expand. The loud sounds were actually caused by a natural phenomenon known as "cryoseism," also known as an "ice quake" or "frost quake." A cryoseism, also known as an "ice quake" or a "frost quake," is a seismic event potentially caused by a sudden cracking action in soil or rock that's frozen due to being saturated with ice … ... A recent paper in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences documented some of the larger lake-associated ice quakes … It’s unlikely one would be strong enough to affect the foundation of … Ice quakes are not like earthquakes and don’t have an affect on the Earth’s tectonic plates. "A 'frost quake' can be visually compared to putting a bottle of water in the freezer. The Deeper Science Behind Sounds And Flashes In Frost Quakes. The mass eventually breaks, creating a loud booming sound, if the surrounding area can't support it. The temperature drop is not the only precursor to an ice quake, though. A frost quake … What you heard may be a cryoseism, commonly known as a “frost quake,” caused by the brutal cold hitting the Midwest.