Have you ever wondered what happens to ice when dropped down a deep hole? In what may come as a sweet surprise for sci-fi lovers, scientists have discovered it makes sounds similar to laser guns.
The incident came to the fore when researchers were drilling a 450 foot hole in Antarctica to study Earth’s prehistoric climate. The researchers decided to throw a nine-inch piece of ice in a 450-foot deep hole.
The video of the experiment was uploaded on Twitter by geochemist John Higgins. Higgins, an associate professor of geosciences at Princeton University, captioned it, “What does a 9 inch ice core sound like when dropped down a 450 foot 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
Within hours of sharing 13-second-long clip, the video went viral, garnering over 3 million views and 20,000 likes. Higgins has credited Dr Peter Neff, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Washington, for the idea.
Neff also shared a video online and revealed the secret behind the ice belting out sounds. He explains that the sound produce by the ice is a result of two factors.
“The first thing you hear as the ice is falling is the pitch of the sound changing. That's the Doppler effect,” Neff explained in the video.
Antarctic science + wholesome fun.— Peter Neff (@peter_neff) December 13, 2019
At @UW I study past climate from ancient air bubbles trapped in glacial ice.
I also dropped ice down a borehole that one time.
Read more: https://t.co/LPcFuJUVzN
[🎥 @uwnews @KiyomiTaguchi]@UWEnvironment @UW_ESS pic.twitter.com/YFYmqzp9Li
He said when the ice hits the bottom the sound waves start to bounce off the sides of the hole. “That’s why you hear the plink! With sort of a heartbeat sound afterwards,” he added.