Singing ice shelves

antarctic seismomemters

Seismic monitoring of the Ross ice shelf (Antarctica) has revealed ambient resonances at frequencies >5 Hz1. Winds blowing across the ice cause the shelf to sing. The sounds occur year-round and spectral peaks occur at a range of frequencies between 4 and 50 Hz with power exceeding 15 dB. The singing changes in response to both wind storms blowing snow dunes across the surface of the ice and snowmelt events altering the composition of the firn. The findings mean that ambient noise seismology can be used as a tool to continuously monitor the surface of ice shelves.


1 Chaput et al. (2018) Near-surface environmentally forced changes in the Ross Ice Shelf observed with ambient seismic noise. Geophysical Research Letters 10.1029/2018GL079665


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