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Posts Tagged ‘Melting ice’

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Jökulsárlón is a fascinating glacial lagoon. It is about 300m deep below the glacier tongue and from Kayak I have measured with sonar a spot which was more than 280m deep. It is deeper than many places far away in the Atlantic ocean. So if something happens in this lagoon, like Iceberg calving, the sound will echo in this huge space down there as in a large dome.
It has been almost eight years since I recorded the sound in Jökulsárlón for the first time. I was both surprised and disappointed. The sound was much richer than I thought and because of this loud and rich sound down there it was clear I could not get a detailed sound of it when an Iceberg was scratching the bottom of the lake, or calving glacier.
The most common sound there is a loud „spark sound“ when highly pressed air bubbles break out of the ice, but also when dripping water falls on the surface from the melting ice above. Sometimes the iceberg moves and scratches the gravel in the bottom of the lagoon.
The following recording is made from a Kayak, where the lagoon is 40-80 meters deep and not far away, about 200-400m, from the place I did the recording 8 years ago.
You will hear a buzzing engine noise from sightseeing boats in this recording which has sadly increased in the past decade on the lagoon. Because of increasing tourist traffic this lagoon has almost constant engine noise pollution, both above and under the surface between 9-19 o´clock every day mainly during the summer time.
It is anyway interesting to use the engine noise to get insight into how loud the natural soundscape is in this lagoon. If there were NO ice surrounded by salty seawater, then engine noise would have been echoing loudly in the space below the surface, just as an noisy moped gang was driving inside Pantheon in Rome.

(mp3 256kbps / 63Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Benthowave Bll-7121 hydrophones  1,8meters apart.
Pix: Canon EOS R

Location: 64.048029, -16.192690
Weather: Calm to breeze. cloudy around 13 °C
Recording date: 25th of June 2021

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I was shocked last summer. Then I realized it was becoming increasingly difficult to get interesting recordings of glaciers. I was missing out on unique opportunities if I would not change my traditional methods of recording glacier sounds.
Glaciers that have so far been accessible with all kind of sound seems much quieter than before. Finding good places seems to be more difficult each year and to reach them with all of my equipment are getting even more difficult. Many glacier toes in Iceland seem to be turning into „dead ice“ at the toe end so they will not be crawling under its own weight anymore just lay where they are until they melt down.
One of this glacier which has gotten thinner, smaller and quieter each year is Svínafellsjökull glacier.
I spent three nights recording there last summer without recording anything „interesting“
The temperature varies between 2°C over the night, to 18°C during the day. During the night it melted little but it started to melt intensely at dawn and became very intense during the day, especially when the sun was shining on the glacier.
The following recording was made in a small „Ice cave“ in the glacier toe, 27th of May 2019. The time was around 8 AM, about an hour after the heat started to rice and the melting began. In this 27 minutes long recording  you will clearly hear the melting of the ice increase until I became afraid about the microphone and I stop the recording.
You can hear several times a deep rumble sound, probably because the glacier is crawling high in the mountain. Many other strange sounds are in this recording, some are known, while other unexplainable. I was never close by so it is not sound from me.  Some of them are loud, so be careful, do not listen to the recording on high level.
Other sound in distance are tourists, almost constant motorist traffic. But fossil fuel machines and humans mobility are sadly one of the reason for rapidly shrinking glaciers now a days.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low-mid level.
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(mp3 256kbps / 51Mb)
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Recorder: Sound Devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040 in Parallel AB40
Pix: LG G6
Location: 63.996493, -16.874061
Weather: Calm, light clouds, around 10°C

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