Thousands of tiny ice quakes shake Antarctica at night


The Humble Scot!
May 19, 2009
March 11, 2019

Stay overnight on an Antarctic ice shelf, and you might feel the shaking from thousands of tiny quakes as the ice re-forms after melting during the day.

In a recent study on Antarctica’s McMurdo Ice Shelf, scientists used seismometers to record hundreds of thousands of tiny “ice quakes” that appear to be caused by pools of partially-melted ice expanding and freezing at night.

University of Chicago glaciologist Douglas MacAyeal is co-author of the study, published in the Annals of Glaciology on December 17, 2018. MacAyeal said in a statement:

In these areas we would record tens, hundreds, up to thousands of these per night. It’s possible that seismometers may be a practical way for us to remotely monitor glacier melting.

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