Home / ScienceScientists Discover Satisfying Sounds of an 800,000-Year-Old Antarctic Glacier

Scientists Discover Satisfying Sounds of an 800,000-Year-Old Antarctic Glacier

A group of University of Rochester scientists are currently studying the effects of global warming by drilling ice cores from 800,000-year-old Antarctic ice. Over time, layers of snow can compact under their own weight, forming strata that encapsulate past climates.“We use ancient air trapped in glacial ice from Greenland and Antarctica to learn about how the concentrations and isotopic composition of greenhouse gases and reactive gases have varied in the past, and what these changes tell us about Earth’s climate and atmospheric chemistry,” explains the University of Rochester Ice Core Lab.

Although the team is carrying out important research, the group still makes sure to have a little fun every once in a while. After the hard labor of making the boreholes, some of the scientists decided to see what would happen if they dropped chunks of ice into the abyss. Little did they know that their spontaneous playtime would lead to a serendipitous discovery: super cool noises. One of the scientists on the expedition—Dr. Peter Neff, a postdoctoral researcher—shared their fun discovery on Twitter saying, “When science is done, it's fun to drop ice down a 90 m deep borehole in an Antarctic glacier. So satisfying when it hits the bottom.” Taking around 5-10 seconds for the block of ice to reach the base, the videos record a spectacular “pew” sound, along with giggles of glee from onlookers.

You can follow the group’s adventures and progress via their expedition blog.

A group of University of Rochester scientists are currently studying the effects of global warming by drilling ice cores from 800,000-year-old Antarctic ice.

But after the hard work has been done, the team had a little fun by dropping chunks of ice into the glacial abyss.

Little did they know that their spontaneous playtime would lead to to a serendipitous discovery: super-cool noises.

University of Rochester Ice Core Lab: Website
Peter Neff: Website | Twitter
h/t: [Kottke]

All images via University of Rochester Ice Core Expedition Blog and Peter Neff.

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