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Scientists Learn To Hear The ‘Songs’ Of Ice Shelves

Scientists Learn To Hear The ‘Songs’ Of Ice Shelves
October 18, 2018 Elijah James Logan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w56RxaX9THY The “whistling” of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica’s largest, is beautifully eerie. It’s also potentially a divining rod for changes to shelves’ composition that can be monitored in real time. Listening to it, the opening moan of Fever Ray’s song “If I Had A Heart” comes to mind, or the dramatic composition Inuksuit from John Luther Adams: To arrive at their new recording , twelve scientists working on the ice shelf burrowed 34 tools for measuring seismic activity into it, expecting to monitor its internal vibrations. They noticed, however, that surface wind glazing over the “firn” — the top layer of snow of the shelf — was feeding noise into their sensors. But what was at first considered to be “inconvenient ambient noise,” as the glaciologist Douglas R. MacAyeal put it in a summation of the new findings , ended up giving insight into meltwater effects on that firn layer, giving scientists another data point on the shelf’s structural

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