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Environment

UW scientist captures strange song of cracking iceberg

012411TB_Iceberg.jpg
Josh Landis
/
National Science Foundation
Iceberg B-15A was 76 miles long and 17 miles wide

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kplu/local-kplu-947783.mp3

If an iceberg cracks in Antarctica and no one's there to hear it, does it make a sound? Now we know the answer is, in fact, yes.

A University of Washington oceanographer has released a recording of the breakup of one of the largest icebergs ever observed in Antarctica.

The recording is of a giant iceberg breaking apart. This one hit an underwater ridge off the coast of Antarctica. UW oceanographer Seelye Martin wasn't there, but did get data from a seismometer that was dropped onto the iceberg earlier:

"Seismologists love to speed up their music, I mean to speed up their seismic records. In fact, they call it rock music."

Martin says the sound represents about three and a half hours of data compressed into two minutes:

"It reaches a climax. Then you hear this kind of eerie harmonic noise which is the remnants, the pieces of the iceberg rubbing together."

Martin says this iceberg before it broke apart was so big it could’ve covered most of Washington’s Puget Sound.