Maybe you've heard of thundersnow.  Maybe you know all about how to avoid frostbite.  But when the arctic blast hits the crazy cold temperatures can create some unique natural phenomena.  One that was newly discovered for Iowa and Illinois came in the form of some wild loud "booms".

If you've been thinking your neighbors are shooting off fireworks out in the cold, for once they are not, it's coming from the earth.

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Townsquare Media
Townsquare Media
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Over the weekend I heard these loud booms coming from outside and did as much investigating as I possible without actually going outside...cause forget that.

My first thought was a tree falling.  So much snow and ice on the trees plus with how cold it is, the trees could give up and collapse.  While I did see in the backyard a branch that came down, and as you can see a bush that will need to perk up in the spring, there was nothing that big that fell to make that loud of noise.

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The next thought was the roof.  We have a LOT of snow on our roofs right now.  Which is a danger for us as well.  Again, not going outside to check, but a quick look out the windows and at the ceiling, and all looked fine.  Plus, decided to check out the windows at all the gutters as they are full of snow and ice...and they are all still hanging as well.

So did a deer crash into the house?  Is there a crazy burglar braving the temps to break in?  What could it be?  That is when I went to Google.

Frost Quake's In Iowa

Enviroment and Climate Change Canada via YouTube
Enviroment and Climate Change Canada via YouTube
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Have you ever heard of a "frost quake"?  Me neither, but it explains what is going on.

Frost quakes, or cryoseism, happen when the ground gets soaked by water from heavy rain.  (Check on that for us in the Quad Cities.)  Then, the temps become super cold quickly (yep) causing the water to freeze which of course expands.

The water continues to freeze until it cracks and pops and booms and wakes you up at 3:00 in the morning wondering what is happening outside.

We've got this full week of brutal cold in Iowa.  So there is still time for you to hear the booms and stay in bed knowing it was just a frost quake.

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Gallery Credit: Connor Kenney/Townsquare Media Quad Cities

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