Any process that causes a sudden brittle failure of material has the potential to cause earthquake-like seismic events. Cryoseisms represent an underreported class of seismic event due to their (often) small magnitudes. In this paper, we document the phenomenon of some of the largest magnitude lake-associated icequakes (ML 2.0) yet reported. These events occurred nearly simultaneously (within ∼2 h) on geographically separate lakes in Alberta, Canada, starting 1 January 2018. We conjecture that these events were caused by the sudden brittle failure of lake ice due to thermal expansion; the effects of the thermal expansion were compounded by the lack of insulating snow cover, high lake water levels, and a rapid onset of atmospheric warming. These factors also contributed to ice-jacking — a repeating process in which thermal contraction produces tensile cracks (leads) in lake ice that are then filled with water that is frozen during the cooling cycle. Thus, any subsequent thermal expansion must be accommodated by new deformation or brittle failure. This ice-jacking process caused creeping ground deformation after the initial brittle failure and again two weeks later following a second warming period. In many cases, the resulting ground deformation was significant enough to cause property damage.

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