Thursday, November 24, 2005

Chilled tunes excite researchers

Scientists discover "singing" iceberg

The sound may not quite be music to most people’s ears, but scientists working off Antarctica’s southern Atlantic coast have released details of an astonishing discovery - a singing iceberg. The remarkable findings made by the German Alfred Wegener Institute for polar and marine research in 2002 have only now been published in Science magazine.

The institute’s research team had been tracking earth movements and recording seismic signals in Antarctica when they detected some unusual noises. The source was found to be a 50 by 20 kilometer chunk of ice which had collided with an underwater peninsula.

“Once the iceberg stuck fast on the seabed it was like a rock in a river,” scientist Vera Schlindwein said. “The water pushes through its crevasses and tunnels at high pressure and the iceberg starts singing.”

At a frequency of around 0.5 hertz, the sounds waves are too low for the human ear. But sped up, the iceberg sounded like a swarm of bees or an orchestra warming up, the scientists said.

“The tune even goes up and down, just like a real song,” Shlindwein added.

More from ABC Science Online.

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Jaimie said...

Nature is amazing! I would love to be able to hear this.

Deb S. said...

Jaimie, since you and I may not make it to Antarctica anytime soon, you might want to click on the ABC Online link. It offers streaming audio of the iceberg "singing." It's a WAV file. I was able to listen to it by using QuickTime.

I agree. Nature is amazing!