Ice falling down a 450-foot hole sounds just like laser guns and it's freaking people out

Have you ever wondered what ice sounds like when it's dropped by hundreds of feet into an icy abyss?

Well now scientists have finally found out the answer to this burning (or freezing) question. It turns out that, weirdly, ice being dropped down an icy hole sounds like a laser gun battle. Think: Star Wars storm troopers.

A video of this very noise recently went viral after geochemist John Higgins shared the clip on Twitter.

So why does it sound like this?

The distorted sound as the ice falls is to do with the phenomenon known as the Doppler Effect. This is the same principle that changes the sound of an ambulance siren as it drives past you. It happens because of a change in frequency and wavelength caused by the change in distance of the source of the wave and the thing observing it.

Dr Peter Neff, a post-doc researcher at the University of Washington, said:

When the ice hits the bottom of the borehole, 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 plink! with sort of a heartbeat sound afterwards.

Fascinating stuff.

H/T: IFL Science / Katy Evans

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