Tag Archive: ice


Yosemite’s Frozen Lakes

For all interested in ice sounds: check the blog “music from the ice” by composer Cheryl E Leonard. She recorded some beautiful sounds from frozen lakes in Yosemite National Park and used very similar equipment to my hydrophone recordings of ice sheets. Cheryl also invents astonishing instruments and travelled to Palmer Station in Antarctica, the field recordings of this trip were released on a CD called “Chattermarks“.

The hydrophones of German Alfred-Wegener-Institut recorded an iceberg crashing into the ice shelf close to the Neumayer III station in Antarctica on 11th Feb (German report about it here). The incident went unnoticed by the crew on the station even though the crash caused a 2 km crack in the ice and destroyed a supply road. It was a German scientist in Bremerhaven who monitored the audio live stream from the Palaoa underwater microphones to figure that something was wrong. He heard a loud growl from the hydrophones and informed the staff at the station. An excerpt of the collision can be heard on this German news site. There are several other underwater noises that occasionally occur in Antarctica, some are collected on this site of the Alfred-Wegener-Institut. And you can still listen live to the antarctic underwater world at home here.

Ice Recordings Updated

Since Tim Prebbles fantastic blog the music of sound pointed to my post about “dispersion of sound waves in ice sheets” and then later sound and music as well as kottke.org linked to the same post, hits on my site here exploded. So thanks to everybody for the nice comments and emails I received! Let me take the opportunity to draw the attention to some other very interesting webpages concerning the sound of ice. First, there is the Audio Live Stream from Antarctica hosted by the German Alfred-Wegener-Institut. You should give it a try even though sometimes the connection doesn’t work. Only the possibility to listen in to what is happening under the ice shelf in Antarctica, to hear seals whistling their electronic sounds and whales clicking is just thrilling. Most of the time there are no ice sounds in the live stream, but occasionally something like this happens (wait for the sound at 40sec to start):

The scientists from the Alfred-Wegener-Institut do not know exactly how and why this sound happened. But it was incredibly loud and could possibly come from strong forces within the ice. I wrote about it here. Subsonic sounds emitted by a huge iceberg were recorded by Christian Müller, a scientist collaborating with the Alfred-Wegener-Institut. The infrasounds of the iceberg were pitched higher into the audible range of the human ear and the term “singing iceberg” was coined. The sound can be heard here. National Geographic wrote about it and Müllers paper is available here. He also gave me the permission to incorporate the sound in my piece frost pattern, along with the other above mentioned ice noises. New Scientist has a video online about research of the University of Chicago with some other subsonic iceberg sounds:

Then there are several other sites on the web that feature ice related sounds. One collection is available for free download from the German label Gruenrekorder, called the sound of snow and ice. Another nice recording – at the edge of the ice – was done by Mike Rooke and can be heard on the sound is art website. Also check Marc Namblards CD chants of frozen lakes at Kalerne, there are some audio excerpts as well. By the way: my ice recordings will be part of the CD release “fire and frost pattern” due to be out at Gruenrekorder in June this year.

In the comments of the ice dispersion post Jason turned my attention to this nice little video with an ice fishing guy experiencing strong breaks in the surface:

Sometimes a multitude of such breaks can cause a lake to “sing” in a certain tone, as is documented in this video:

I should not forget to mention that recording endeavours on the ice or at glaciers and icebergs can be extremely dangerous. I was warned in Greenland when I was trying to do sound recordings of calving glaciers and I saw once how davastating such a bigger incident can be. Flipping icebergs are also a very dangerous threat, look at this (sorry for the stupid music background):

And see what a tsunami caused by a flipping iceberg can do to some poor fishermen in Greenland:

Finally you can ooze your frozen fingers with some tunes played on ice instruments by Norwegian musician Terje Isungset on his myspace site.

Update: also check the fantastic recordings of Yosemite’s frozen lakes by Cheryl E Leonard (15th Feb. 2012)

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