Two quakes damage homes, crack ground in Alberta Beach

Two seismic events wreaked havoc on homes in a small village northwest of Edmonton late Monday night.

The 2.0 magnitude quakes happened around 11:45 p.m Monday night

Two earthquakes in Alberta Beach caused damage to Sharon Smith's deck outside the family's vacation home. (Sharon Smith)

Two seismic events wreaked havoc on homes in a small village northwest of Edmonton late Monday night.

The 2.0 magnitude quakes happened around 11:45 p.m, a spokesperson from the Alberta Energy Regulator said in a statement to CBC News Tuesday.

Staff at the energy regulator continue to investigate but said preliminary information suggests that "both events are consistent with reports of an earthquake."

Cracks in the ice along Lac St. Anne. (Sharon Smith)

A spokesperson for the regulator said they believe Alberta Beach was hit by two naturally caused ice quakes.

Ice quakes happen when cold winter temperatures quickly freeze groundwater, causing the ground to suddenly crack and make popping sounds.

'Hellacious crashing'

Sharon Smith said the earthquakes woke her family up around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

"There was this hellacious crashing, cracking sound. My partner was here, my son was here and we all came tearing out of our bedrooms," she told CBC News Tuesday night.

The family faced a rude awakening later that morning, when they found a gigantic crack running through their front door up to the ceiling and across the roof.

One of the cracks running up the wall at the Smith's vacation home. (Sharon Smith)

The cracks extended to the walls inside their vacation home. The baseboards have also separated from the walls, she said.

Smith forced the door open and went outside to survey the damage. In the backyard, she said she found the family's deck, normally held up by two posts, was barely supported as the posts had folded down to 45 degrees.  

The cracks in the ground were so large in places, Smith said, that they opened up the ice on the waterfront close to homes bordering Lac Ste. Anne.

"I've never heard of an earthquake out here," she said.

Smith said a structural engineer will be arriving at the home Wednesday morning to assess the damage.