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An Antarctic ice shelf is 'singing' and it's creepy
20 October 2018, 05:08 | Justin Tyler
The wind lashing against the upper layer of the ice shelf creates an inaudible'ice song
The noise is actually vibrating ice, caused by the wind blowing across snow dunes, according to a new study.
Standing atop the Ross Ice Sheet, you won't hear the throbbing of snow below. But if you have the right equipment to first capture and then remix the acoustic waves, a whole new soundtrack can be revealed.
Scientists who set out to watch the ice shift in Antarctica have ended up listening to it instead.
Researchers on Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf have recorded the slow seismic hum generated by wind forces whipping across the ice sheet's frozen landscape. "We ﬁnd that the frequencies and other features of this singing change, both as storms alter the snow dunes and during a (January 2016) warming event that resulted in melting in the ice shelf's near surface". Changes in air temperature and wind speed also affected how the vibrations traveled through the snow and ice.
The Ross Ice Shelf is Antarctica's largest ice shelf, a Texas-sized plate of glacial ice fed from the icy continent's interior that floats atop the Southern Ocean. Scientists say the sounds could alert them to the shelf's condition under climate change, like a kind of warning sound for the planet. "And that's essentially the two forcing effects we can observe".