Icequake swarms portend some avalanches | Science News

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Icequake swarms portend some avalanches

Forecasting glacier crack-ups may be possible by keeping an ear to the ice

5:26pm, December 3, 2010

Unless you’re eating breakfast, hearing snap, crackle, and pop may be an early warning sign of an impending avalanche. Geologists listening in on “icequakes” that rumble through glaciers have developed a model that can predict a collapse up to 15 days before it happens, the team reports in a study posted on

With that kind of heads up, villages could be evacuated and roads closed in avalanche-prone areas.

Though all glaciers groan and creak under stress, glaciers on an incline are especially creaky, because the top of the ice is less well supported against the pull of gravity than the base — like

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