Suggestions for cause of suspicious sounds

By Anna Carrera

Published 03/13 2014 11:20AM

Updated 03/13 2014 06:15PM

Update: 4:52 pm, 3/13/14, Thursday
CHAMPAIGN COUNTY -- Instead of falling asleep quietly in the country, people say they've been waking up to loud noises in the middle of the night. They say it's been happening off-and-on for more than a week. They've got some ideas what it might be. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera gets a theory from our weather team of meteorologists.

They say it could be a phenomenon called "Frost Quakes" which are more common in places further north like Canada. But, it could be happening right here in our backyards.

People usually move far from big cities to get away from the noise.

"Unless it's deer season, you might hear a boom," said George McMannis, who lives in Rantoul. "But normally, it's a quiet area."

But lately, it hasn't been so quiet around Champaign County.

"A lot of times you can hear coyotes and stuff," said Carrie Anglin, "but recently, you just hear ice falling."

Some sounds have been even louder than that.

"You hear noises, kind of sounds like a sonic boom," said Anglin. "I don't really know how to describe them."

To some people, it's not completely unusual to hear strange sounds at night.

"We've had so much work with the railroads recently," said Anglin. 

"That would be quite loud, dumping a bucket of those into the empty dumpster," said McMannis. 

They say there used to be a lot more activity while workers took apart railroad tracks in Penfield, but the WCIA-3 Weather Team suggests a different culprit -- frost quakes.

"I think that's crazy," said Anglin. "We're not used to a lot of little earthquake things around here."

When melting snow gets in the ground, then freezes and expands, it can cause cracks on the surface or underground. That splitting could be the noise you're hearing at night.

"We've had a really harsh winter and to have some physical evidence of that winter, I think is awesome," said Anglin. 

You might still hear those booms for awhile until the ground thaws out, but it shouldn't be anything to worry about.
Original: 10:11 pm, 3/12/14, Wednesday
CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- It sounds like something out of Twilight Zone right here in Central Illinois. Many people say, in recent days, they've heard loud noises; some say like a sonic boom.

From Potomac to Royal and Gifford to Urbana, the explosion-like noises have rattled homes and startled people who have heard it. Officials have no answers as the mystery continues. Some are turning to social media to try to get some answers about the "boom."

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