Imagine you’re a scientist working in Antarctica.
You’ve suffered through freezing temperatures, drilled ice cores to understand more about our ancient planet, and of course, thrown some ice down a really deep hole to hear it go ‘pew’.
Yes, that’s the sort of pastime people discover while living in some of the most inhospitable parts of our planet.
Thanks to isotope geochemist John Andrew Higgins on Twitter, you too can experience this weird joy, as researchers have recorded the fantastic sounds of a block of ice falling down a 137-metre (450-foot) drill 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 Andrew Higgins (@blueicehiggins) February 7, 2020
Why the heck does it sound so strange?
We have an answer to that thanks to Peter Neff, the glaciologist who may have started the trend of throwing ice down really long drill holes and recording the result.
Back in 2018, Neff recorded a piece of ice falling down a 90-metre (295-foot) bore hole, and that video went viral – amassing 10 million views on Twitter alone.
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.
Happy hump day. pic.twitter.com/dQtLPWQi7T
— Peter Neff (@peter_neff) February 28, 2018
According to Neff, there are two factors at play here – the Doppler effect and the way sound waves move throughout the hole.
“The first thing you hear as the ice is falling is the…