‘Ice quakes’ rattle nerves in Chicagoland

DENVER -- A weather oddity in Chicago is lightning up social media as temperatures stay well below zero. What people are calling "ice quakes" are adding a level of eeriness to the winter cold.

It’s something many Chicagoans have never experienced. The scientific name is cryoseisms. The seismic activity involves the earth getting so cold that moisture in the ground quickly solidifies and expands, causing the soil to crack and make noise.

“A little bit after midnight, I hear this pop, pop, popping type of thing," said Nancy Konopasek, Chicagoland resident and mother of FOX31 reporter Michael Konopasek. "At first, I thought branches were breaking and landing on the roof or something. Then, about an hour later, more popping.”

Konopasek says she's staying inside. It's simply too dangerously cold to go outside. She hasn’t been able to see if the "ice quakes" have caused any damage. Meanwhile, mail and newspaper deliveries have been suspended in the area.

“The dog and I have not been out since Monday night," Konopasek said.

As people in Chicagoland have been reporting "ice quakes," FOX31 Denver sister station WGN-TV shared a graphic explaining the unfamiliar activity:

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