Frost Heaves: Watch this video to see why they can be so dangerous

Driving through rural New Hampshire I noticed a temporary road sign. The triangular yellow sign had “FROST HEAVES” written on it. Being that I am not exactly native to New England, I had no idea what it was. Since I was driving, I asked my Apple CarPlay-connected friend, Siri, what a frost heave was. She cited Wikipedia:

Frost heaving (or a frost heave) is an upwards swelling of soil during freezing conditions caused by an increasing presence of ice as it grows towards the surface, upwards from the depth in the soil where freezing temperatures have penetrated into the soil (the freezing front or freezing boundary). Ice growth requires a water supply that delivers water to the freezing front via capillary action in certain soils. The weight of overlying soil restrains vertical growth of the ice and can promote the formation of lens-shaped areas of ice within the soil. Yet the force of one or more growing ice lenses is sufficient to lift a layer of soil, as much as 1 foot (0.30 metres) or more. The soil through which water passes to feed the formation of ice lenses must be sufficiently porous to allow capillary action, yet not so porous as to break capillary continuity. Such soil is referred to as “frost susceptible”. The growth of ice lenses continually consumes the rising water at the freezing front.

Since I’m not very bright, I still had no idea what a frost heave was. I shrugged it off and continued driving on the crappy secondary road. And then, our friends at Auto Off Topic Podcast posted this video. Suddenly, it all made sense. Frost heaves, be aware of them!

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5 responses to “Frost Heaves: Watch this video to see why they can be so dangerous”

  1. Sjalabais Avatar

    Great variety in vehicles, very interesting to see how the older work pickups have stiff suspension, while the newer ones wallow like that eternally-single aunt at your wedding. The suspension sounds would also make a great beat backdrop for a song.

  2. Hatchtopia Avatar

    Interesting vid, but the combination of the angle and the constant zoom between clips is nausea-inducing.

    1. 0A5599 Avatar

      Frost heaves cause dry heaves?

  3. outback_ute Avatar

    First comment on youtube – “Someone should be selling clean underpants 1/4 mile down the road”

    I wonder if there is an advisory speed sign and these cars are doing the normal limit? That’s how they ‘fix’ roads like that around here…

    1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
      dead_elvis, inc.

      Not likely – locals should know enough to back off a bit when seeing the “frost heaves” sign. Plus, secondary & county roads in rural northern New England are typically in bad shape, short of the first 6-12 months after a proper repaving.

      I found this video oddly hypnotic.

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