GEOGRAPHY IN THE NEWS:
Scientists have discovered that Antarctica has a "song" and that monitoring the song provides clues about the stability of the ice.
"The Ross Ice Shelf is the largest expanse of floating ice on the planet (similar to the size of France). Because of this, it acts as a buttress, holding back the Antarctic glaciers, preventing them from flowing into the ocean. ... Monitoring the ice shelf is therefore essential and scientists ... have discovered a new tool with which to do so. In 2014, the team buried 34 super-sensitive seismic sensors beneath the ice shelf’s surface, a terrain made up of a thick blanket of snow several metres deep and rippled by massive dunes. The instruments measured seismic signals – the waves of energy produced by movement within the earth. The data revealed that winds whipping across the snow dunes cause the ice shelf’s surface to vibrate. This steady vibration results in the emission of seismic ‘tones’. ... Rick Aster, professor of geophysics at Colorado State University and a member of the team, explains that ... when weather conditions change, the pitch of the hum responds. ‘A remarkable thing we discovered during this study was that even during a relatively subtle warming event that only produced a tiny bit of melt on the ice shelf, we could see very strong indications in this signal,’ he says. ‘It enables us to monitor the temperature and the melting of the surface of an ice shelf on a minute-by-minute basis.’" This links to the full article and allows visitors to "listen" to the Antarctic ice: geographical.co.uk/nature/polar/item/3021-antarctic-song
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