The ice which sings in Antarctica

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The tones are too low to be heard by humans, but sped-up renditions have been likened to everything from the haunting drone of a didgeridoo to the soundtrack of a 1950s movie about space aliens. A team of researchers led by Colorado State University scientists, picked up a sound frequency emitted by the melting snow which they described as a “warbly, ominous introduction of a monster in a horror movie. ”Scientists also discovered that the frequency of the vibrations changed in response to changing weather conditions on the shelf, when the temperature rose or fell, for instance, and when storms resculpted the shelf’s snow dunes.

scientists-in-Antarctica
Scientists in Antarctica

The singing ice is more than a sonic curiosity. It might be possible to tap into seismic data to help monitor the health of ice shelves, which have been thinning in response to global warming, certainly causing sea levels to rise around the world. Scientists believe that monitoring vibrations could help predict if the ice shelf is about to break.

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