Three loud “booms” and shaking ground were experienced during the early-evening hours of Thursday, 18 January 2018, according to reports filed on social media. Residents of Catawba, Kelleys Island, Marblehead, and Put-in-Bay reported what appears to be a phenomenon known as a Frost Quake, or cryoseism.
According to FrostQuake.org, “The Vermont Geological Survey defines a cryoseism as, ‘[a] major frost cracking of the top few feet of the ground, occurring during sub-zero cold snaps, which generates localized ground shaking and is often mistaken for an earthquake.’ (1) Expansion that results during the process of freezing can lead to the buildup of explosive stress, which may result in fractures within the earth. Small cracks may be visible on the surface near where a cryoseism has occurred, and in some cases, shaking vibrations may also be felt within the vicinity of the frost quake, along with loud booms that sound similar to gunfire. (2)”