September 2, 2014

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Did you hear that? PDF Print
Saturday, January 11, 2014 9:00 PM

People in Wisconsin felt their homes rumble and things fell off the wall.

Maine residents observed loud noises and shaking outside their homes.

Yours truly heard several noises outside her home and felt it shake a few times Monday and Tuesday. My husband and I looked all around the house and could not find any signs of what we heard so we shrugged it off and went about the business of staying warm and trying to get the dog to do his business in the short time he would stay outside.

Were they earthquakes?

Not exactly. It was frost quakes.

According to geologists, a frost quake occurs when water freezes near the top layers of soil, expands and breaks. The frozen ground expands and it breaks and it’s the breaking that causes the shaking and might cause objects to rattle and houses to rumble.

Usually found in extreme polar regions, frost quakes were experienced this week due to record-low subzero temperatures. Some places that hadn’t seen such temperatures in decades also experience frost quakes.

So now you know … the rest of the story.

A little trip off the path — I loved Paul Harvey. When I purchased my uncle’s car, it only had an AM radio (gasp). So when I was traveling to and from a second-shift job in Ohio City, I would listen to things most others didn’t. Paul Harvey was one of them.

But I digress. (Another trip back to college in the late 90s. I had a history professor who often left the path and at the end he would always say “But I digress” and then come back around to the day’s lesson.)

Another of nature’s wonders is the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. Caused by large X-class flares from the sun’s surface interacting with gasses nitrogen and oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere to create the vibrant colors we know as the Aurora Borealis. The color of the Auroral display depends on which gas the electrons hit. When highly charged electrons from the solar flare strike oxygen, the colors red and green are created, depending on the altitude. Nitrogen interactions create blue, purple and violet colors.

Some places in Ohio were projected to see the Northern Lights Wednesday or Thursday evening. It was a bust for me. I didn’t get to see it and I didn’t hear about anyone else I know seeing it either. I did see them on a July evening when Jay and I were traveling home from Columbus. Pretty cool.

Well, one of nature’s phenomenons out of two in a week ain’t bad.


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