by Melissa DeSimone, MLSA Executive Director
We are faced with yet another weird winter in Michigan. The temperatures have been high and low and back again. We finally saw some ice on lakes only for the temperatures to increase almost immediately. If you enjoy snow sports like me then this has been a particularly frustrating winter for some seasonal fun. With that in mind, we need to be careful when venturing out for activities on the ice.
I have received many association newsletters this winter with warnings about venturing out on the ice, many have used the information from MSU linked below, this is critical education for the winter months. Using the ice is especially dangerous when you see fluctuations in temperature. There have been some incidences this winter that come as important reminders to be careful. Below I link a couple of articles from the East Coast. Both situations involved children, it is critically important to help children understand when the ice is dangerous.
- Town manager dies after saving 4-year-old son from drowning in icy pond
- Vermont state police officer saves 8-year-old from freezing pond
- Michigan DNR Ice Safety
- MSU Extension Ice Safety Tips
But you can also witness some really interesting phenomenon during the fall and rise of temperatures in winter. A less dangerous occurrence during this time of year is a cryoseism. It seems that every winter in recent years, there is a report on my lake association Facebook group of a loud boom that shook houses and woke people from sleep. This year there was even documented reports of a flash of light seen during the boom. People report that the disturbance is so loud they believe it to be an explosion and offer various possible sources. My research suggests it is something much more interesting, I believe they are witnessing a cryoseism or “ice quake”. I admit that I’d never heard of this prior to seeing the Facebook posts and immediately spending significant time searching for reputable articles that could explain what my fellow lake residents were describing. If you think you’ve witnessed something like this or just want to read about what and how these phenomenon occur, I have put together a list of recent articles on the topic, see below.
- Why sudden loud booms sometimes occur when it’s very cold outside
- ‘Frost Quakes’ were felt around Chicago this week. Here’s what scientists do and don’t know about the seismic phenomenon
- Hearing loud pops during the cold snap? It could be a ‘frost quake’
- ‘Ice quakes’ likely to blame for loud booms heard in West Michigan