Have you ever wondered what magical sound ice can make, except for the cracking sound when it’s breaking apart?
One of the recent question are what sound will a block of ice make when it is thrown down a deep hole in the ground. Princeton University researchers took to the Antarctic to drill holes hundreds of feet deep down in the ground. This is done in order to learn more about the current climate change. In order to provide information on the Earth’s climate crisis which started from thousands of years ago, the team are doing research by extracting ice cores that are thousands or even millions of years old.
But while the team were carrying out important research in the ice, the team also had a bit of fun. Geochemist John Andrew Higgins shared their recent video on Twitter, where they revealed a surprising sound that ice makes when it’s dropped down a 137 meter hole.
What does a 9 inch ice core sound like when dropped down a 450 foot hole? Like this! Credit to @peter_neff for the idea and @Scripps_Polar, @sciencejenna, @GeosciencesPU, @US_IceDrilling, and @paleosurface for the execution! pic.twitter.com/pW7LxKdbUB— John Higgins (@blueicehiggins) February 7, 2020
You might expect to hear thunks and thuds as the ice hits the corners or even silence as you might expect the ice to just easily glide down the hole, but you might be shocked to find out in Higgins’ video that it actually makes an entirely unexpected sound. The ice makes a high-pitched “pew pews” sounds which almost sounds like an intergalactic laser gun battle is happening far below as the block of ice falls further into the abyss.
Higgin’s was inspired by a fellow researcher Dr. Peter Neff at the University of Washington who had the idea back in 2018 to drop the ice down a 90 meter deep borehole which also gave a similar result.
But the sound can scientifically be explained. The sound is the result of a phenomenon known as the “Doppler Effect,” which means that sound waves compress as they get closer and stretch out when they get further away, which result in the lowering the frequency and pitch. Neff explained in his video that, “When the ice hits the bottom of the borehole, the sound doesn’t only come straight up—the sound waves start to bounce off the sides of the hole. That’s why you hear this ‘pew!’”
IT NEVER GETS OLD! Ice drop 2020! N(ice)ly done.— Peter Neff (@icy_pete) February 7, 2020