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More 'frost quakes' being reported in Pennsylvania

(Courtesy: WHP)

DILLSBURG, Pa. (WHP) - A phenomenon caused by bitter cold and extra moisture from frost has now been reported in Pennsylvania. Local Geologist Jeri Jones is calling it a “frost quake."

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Michelle Tebbetts was crocheting a blanket when she was startled by a big bang.

“It sounded like a big piece of furniture fell over... and I’m thinking: what did the cats knock over that was that big and that loud?" said Tebbetts.

After Tebbetts, who lives in Dillsburg, checked the whole house and found nothing out of place, she reported the activity to York College Professor and Geologist Jeri Jones.

“I said well maybe it was an earthquake, so I got a hold of Jeri Jones and he said he’s gotten a bunch of calls from people. He said you are having a frost quake," said Tebbetts.

Up until 2009, frost quakes were only felt in 12 other states and into Canada, according to Jones.

“These frost quakes are a situation where the ground is not frozen totally, but it’s over-saturated and sub-freezing temperatures begin. The ground and water will freeze and expand and it actually puts out a little explosion and people hear this booms,” said Jones.

Now, more and more people are reporting frost quakes in Pennsylvania.

“These frost quakes, they sound more like a boom or a bang and then we get a little shake in the house,” said Steven Tebbetts.

This is not the first time the couple has felt tremors at their home. Millersburg University even installed a seismograph in the Tebbetts' backyard before.

“Who knew that Dillsburg would be the California of the east," said Steven.

Jones has assured the family this time it was a frost quake, not an earthquake.

According to Jones, they were too deep to be a mine collapse and too shallow to be an earthquake.

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