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Ice quakes in Alberta Beach?

Calgary, AB, Canada / RTBN
Ice quakes in Alberta Beach?

A photograph of a frozen Lac Ste. Anne, northwest of Edmonton, in January 2018. (Alberta Beach/Facebook)

Researchers have solved a year log mystery after lakeside communities were shook last January.

The University of Alberta’s research teamĀ  have been hard at work getting to the bottom of this frozen solid riddle, so what caused the ice to shatter so aggressively that it damaged three homes in Alberta Beach?

Ice quakes – or cyroseisms – generally happen when there is a rapid drop in temperature like a cold snap. Water that is in the ground will freeze and expand. The newly formed ice will have nowhere to go, so pressure builds and will eventually crack the soil and rocks. This can even make the earth shake.

on Jan. 1 2018, residents of Alberta Beach on Lac Ste. Anne, woke up to very loud bang, ground tremors and cracks forming in their homes and in the ground.

At the time, researchers were aware of tremors caused by fracturing of lake ice, but did not know what caused the ice to violently shatter.

Temperatures that day were warming quickly, climbing by 30 degrees over 24 hours.

The mystery was why would it warm, expand and then crack? Think of it like putting an ice cube in a glass of water, when the ice suddenly cracks, that’s similar to how the ice quake happened. With nowhere for the expanding ice to go, it eventually buckles and snapped suddenly, creating the ice quake and ice ridges along the shoreline.


-Kyle Hutton