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Shortly after 7 p.m. Jan. 13, Jodi Schwen was watching television at her Gull Lake home when she and husband Kent heard a loud boom and felt the earth move.
"It was the deepest rumbling under the house," Jodi Schwen said. "I've never been in an earthquake but that's how I imagine it would feel."
The sound was so pronounced, they immediately went outside thinking a home may have been destroyed in a gas explosion.
It was not until this past weekend that they took a closer look along the shore and discovered damage to structures and the landscape. A sidewalk on the elder Schwens' property is pushed up and broken in several places and sand on a nearby beach is mounded up where it's normally flat. A boathouse next door appears to have shifted from its foundation and previously straight trees are protruding at odd angles.
"It just looked like a bomb went off underground," Jodi Schwen said.
Kevin Huyck, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth, checked the seismic records with U.S. Geological Survey for Jan. 13. No earth tremor or earthquake was recorded in the area. Although rare, earthquakes can occur in Minnesota. Huyck said it's exceedingly unusual for a Minnesota earthquake, which tends to be weak, to damage structures.
Another possibility for what the Schwen family experienced is cryoseism, or an ice quake. In 2008, one of these quakes was reported on Lake Mendota in Madison, Wis., according to a news release from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. University employees in buildings along the shore felt shaking and the event registered on a seismometer in the geology department.
"Ice quakes, usually accompanied by loud cracking noises, are caused by large shifts in ice and are most commonly triggered by drastic temperature changes," the release states.
These events are rare and have the potential to cause damage, although whether this can explain the damage to the shoreline on Gull Lake is unclear.
originally posted by: rickymouse
Well, I have seen ice crack and make a rumbling noise but have never seen it mound sand or hurt anything on shore. I can't imagine an ice quake doing what you described. I know it can screw up a dock or push a big ice up the shore though. I've heard the ice crack maybe a half a dozen times. I'm not saying this wasn't an ice quake, only that I have never seen any damage like that from one up here in the U.P.