This year, the temperature drops shook the northern part of the United States: in Chicago, due to the polar vortex, the air temperature dropped to minus 46 ° C, and Lake Michigan was almost completely covered with ice, which, according to meteorologists, is extremely rare.
On the evening of January 30, many Chicagoans were frightened by loud noises. It was difficult to pinpoint their nature: they were definitely not shots or fireworks. Most likely, people have witnessed a rare phenomenon known as ice quakes (cryoseisms, ice quakes). These loud noises, also known as cryoseisms, are seismic events caused by sudden freezing and expansion of groundwater, which can occur due to a strong drop in temperature. Expanding ice can split rocks and earth, creating loud noises.
“We are familiar with this rare phenomenon: it occurs with a significant decrease in temperature when the saturated soil cools rapidly. Ice in the ground can expand fairly quickly, creating a loud noise on the surface. Given the recent temperature changes in Chicago, most likely, areas with saturated ground could lead to water expansion and noise on the surface, ”suggests geologist Steven Battaglia.
This year, the temperature drops shook the northern part of the United States: for example, in Chicago, due to the polar vortex, the air temperature dropped to minus 46 ° C. According to WHP-TV, similar cryoseism was reported in Indianapolis (Indiana) and the state of Pennsylvania. According to Battagli, due to the warming of the temperature as a result of climate change, such events may become more common in the near future.
Due to severe frosts, the coastline of the freshwater lake of Michigan in Chicago – one of the North American Great Lakes and the largest of all those located entirely in the USA – has turned into an icy piece of art. According to Tom Skilling, a longtime Chicago forecaster and chief meteorologist at WGN-TV, Lake Michigan never froze completely, however, he said, this is probably the strongest and longest cold that he remembers in the Midwest.
According to the National Weather Service and Environment Canada, in the winter of 1903–1904, 1976–1977, 1978–1979, and 2013–2014, ice covered from 90 to 95 percent of Lake Michigan, but no winter was recorded. when the lake froze completely. The reason for this is waves and wind combined with heat in the lake itself.
The specific vapor covering the surface of the lake, according to Skilling, is due to air contact, the temperature of which is minus 20 degrees, with water just above the freezing level. According to him, having lived in Chicago for 40 years, he had never seen such an impressive phenomenon before.