In the past few years, researchers have noticed that glaciers around the world seem to produce seismic waves that can appear to observers like large earthquakes. The waves generated in Antarctica can be picked up as far away as Australia, but until now no-one has been able to determine their cause.
Between 2001 and 2003, 43 seismographs were peppered across the continent and revealed twice daily seismic waves originating from the Whillans Ice Stream - a river of ice, some 600 metres thick.
It appears that the ice river gets stuck on its slow way downstream and the tide releases it. This is similar to geologic faults, where the two sides of the fault are pushing past each other but friction holds them back. Eventually the pressure becomes so great that the fault slips, triggering an earthquake.
In terms of the energy released by the slip, each glacial quake is the equivalent of a magnitude-7 earthquake.
To find out Douglas Wiens of Washington University, St Louis, US, and his colleagues' hypothesis as to why this happens, or to read more about it, here's the article at the New Scientist.
To sign up to receive daily emails about the Matrix Shackleton Centenary Expedition's progress please click here.
Get a capsule view of who we are, where we're going and why we're doing this by reading our brochure.
View our brochure (PDF 2.5mb)
Sir Ernest Shackleton is widely known as one of the most inspirational leaders of the twentieth century. The Shackleton Foundation is a new charitable trust.
Matrix Group are proud to be the Headline Sponsors of the Shackleton Centenary Expedition
The South Pole Gazette is a round-up of Antarctic news stories from around the web.
The SCE receives a small percentage of the price of all Antarctic and Shackleton books bought through the links listed below. Please note that buying through our UK Amazon affiliate account you are directly helping to sponsor the Expedition.
Please don't hesitate to get in touch with the SCE if you have any questions regarding our project, or if you would like to know more about how you can become a sponsor.
The Shackleton Centenary Expedition,
c/o The Lansdowne Club,
9 Fitzmaurice Place,
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For press enquiries, please contact Mark Cooper at Van Communications, email@example.com
RSS feeds are a way of keeping up to date with your favourite websites by delivering fresh content to your desktop.
The SCE is a not-for-profit venture of the Shackleton Foundation.
All rights reserved © 2006 The Shackleton Centenary Expedition [SCE] except where noted.
Company No. 06107694, Charity No. 1118686.
The Shackleton Centenary Expedition, c/o The Lansdowne Club, 9 Fitzmaurice Place, London W1J 5JD
"Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all." - EHS 1909
Sponsored by Matrix