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Possible Cryoseism Felt at the Blanc-Sablon Airport




LOCAL NEWS BLANC-SABLON – FEBRUARY 22, 2021: Phenomenon similar to an Earthquake experience felt in Blanc-Sablon


At approximately 7:35 am on Sunday February 21st, an employee of the weather observation station at the Blanc-Sablon airport experienced a phenomenon similar to an earth quake, as the whole building began to shake. "It only lasted for a few seconds, but everything was moving," said Mitchell Leon, a weather observer, who works in collaboration with NAV Canada to report the local weather conditions.


​CFBS contacted Earthquakes Canada on Sunday to obtain info on what may have occurred at the airport, and received a call back from Stephen Crane, PhD, Research Scientist, at the Canadian Hazards Information Service for Natural Resources Canada. Mr. Crane confirmed that there was no report of an earthquake in the area, however it may possibly have been a cryoseism instead. This is what he had to say about this phenomenon:


"Cryoseisms (more commonly referred to as “ice quakes” or “frost quakes”) are felt in Canada almost every winter, occur in cold temperatures, particularly if there has been a sudden drop in temperature. These are not related to earthquakes, but are related to weather. When temperatures fall rapidly, the moisture trapped in the soil begins to freeze. As the moisture freezes, it expands, putting pressure on the surrounding soil and bedrock. Eventually the stress is too much and the soil and bedrock may crack, creating a loud noise and occasionally shaking the ground. These cryoseisms are very localized, so the effects cannot be detected by seismometers (unless in the very rare possibility that it occurs very close to the recording instrument).


I can not confirm that a frost quake did occur, as we don’t have any instruments nearby, but I can confirm that it was not an earthquake." -Stephen Crane, PhD, Research Scientist, at the Canadian Hazards Information Service for Natural Resources Canada.


Abbygail Wellman

CFBS Journalist

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