Here Is What Happens If You Drop Ice Down a Super Deep Hole in Antarctica

The experiment was run by both a glaciologist and an isotope geochemist.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Ah! Antarctica! A land of ice and cold and not much to do. That is probably why scientists from the region spend their time running cool experiments like dropping some ice down a super deep hole to hear how it goes.


A Twitter video has surfaced of isotope geochemist John Andrew Higgins recording the sounds of a 9-inch block of ice falling down a 137-meter drill hole, as reported by Science Alert.

"What does a 9-inch ice core sound like when dropped down a 450-foot hole? Like this!" writes Higgings and he credits the idea to glaciologist Peter Neff. 

Back in 2018, Neff also recorded ice falling down a 90-meter Antarctica hole. "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," wrote Neff.

Luckily for us, Neff did not stop at only recording the noise. He also released an accompanying video that explained the science behind it. "Here’s the story on this crazy sound (V1), plus the basic science," wrote Neff.

So what is the story behind this crazy sound?

"The first thing you hear as the ice is falling is the pitch of the sound changing. That's the Doppler effect," explained in the video Neff.

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"Then when the ice hits the bottom of the bore hole, the sound doesn't only come straight up - the sound waves start to bounce off the sides of the hole. That's why you hear this 'pew!' with sort-of a heartbeat sound afterwards."

If you want to know more, you can watch all of Neff's explanation video. It's a great example of what scientists can share with others just for fun!

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