‘Frost Quakes’ responsible for strange noises around Tennessee

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A lot of middle Tennessee residents have called police, news stations and even 911 after hearing what they describe are “loud booms” or “explosions” in the middle of the night.

Some have thought these “booms” are gun shots or transformers blowing, but there’s actually a more scientific explanation behind it.

While dealing with the ice and freezing temperatures, what Middle Tennessee residents are actually encountering is a mysterious weather phenomenon called cryoseism.

Cryoseismic booms, or frost quakes, are caused when frozen water expands quickly in the ground, according to the National Weather Service.

When water runs into the ground and freezes, it expands when the temperature drops dramatically, putting stress on the surrounding soil or rock.

The “explosion” is the result of the pressure being released with a booming sound and slight tremor.

News 2 has received reports from Ashland City, Hermitage, Hohenwald, Nolensville and other places across the Middle Tennessee area.

The National Weather Service said this activity is completely harmless.

Cryoseism typically occurs in the Northeastern United States and Canada.

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