EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As if the frigid temperatures and damaging wind gusts weren’t enough, the cold snap that’s affecting Southern New England could also give you a start.

If you hear a loud boom or feel a brief rumble during these conditions, it could be what’s known as a frost quake.

Frost quakes can occur when the ground is saturated with water. As temperatures quickly fall, the water freezes and expands, causing the soil and bedrock to crack. The resulting boom or pop may come as a surprise, but they don’t typically cause damage like an earthquake could.

The ground became very saturated due to the above average rainfall and mild temperatures during the month of January.

Frost quakes are somewhat rare, especially in Southern New England, but in other parts of the world they aren’t too uncommon.

This cold spell is only expected to last through Saturday, but it may be around long enough to cause some frost quakes.