Recently vibrations originating from an iceberg were recorded seismographically at the Antarctic Neumayer Station by scientists of the Alfred Wegener Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and ‘Fielax’, a private company. The recorded vibrations produced harmonic sounds with up to 30 overtones. Initially, volcanic activity was thought to cause the low frequency vibrations; so-called ‘tremors’. However, comparisons of seismic soundings revealed movement of the source of the vibrations. By means of satellite imagery, a giant iceberg covering an area of 30 by 50 kilometres, was identified as the cause.
However, the sounds are not audible to the human ear because of the tones’ low register. The data might facilitate a better understanding of the processes in volcanoes where vibration patterns are similar. The scientists are analysing the results of their measurements in a study just published in the scientific journal Science. The researchers suspect that water flowing within the iceberg’s system of crevasses and tunnels, is stimulating elastic vibrations, similar to those of an organ pipe.