Passive Seismology

When I visited a glacier for the first time, I was amazed at how much noise it made. From little creaking noises to ominously deep booms, a day on the glacier is never quiet. To a seismologist, this cacophony is a great source of scientific data- by deploying geophones both on top of and inside the glacier, we can monitor the sounds generated as the ice flows along. The variations in pitch and timing of these noises can in turn tell us about the type and location of fractures forming in the ice as it deforms.

Our passive seismic network faithfully recorded throughout the spring and summer of 2018, yielding some impressive recordings of crevasses opening to accommodate lake drainage, as well as lots of little fractures originating at the base of the glacier. We hope the network will continue to record exciting data for us this in the upcoming season!

Charlie Schoonman