There’s an interesting reason why Mount Everest makes seriously disturbing sounds at night.
Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, has long been known for its stunning beauty and deadly challenges.
However, it is also known for a mysterious and terrifying phenomenon that had stumped scientists for years – the strange sounds that occur at night.
But thanks to a recent study, we finally have an explanation for the noises.
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In a recent Netflix documentary called Aftershock: Everest and the Nepal Earthquake, Dave Hahn, an expedition leader who has summited Everest 15 times, spoke about his experiences on the mountain, including the eerie sounds that kept him awake at night.
Hahn said that it can be tough to sleep at night on Everest, not just because of the apprehension of climbing a huge mountain, but also because of the strange noises he could hear.
He explains: “There’s all this anticipation and you can hear the glacier that you’re sleeping on – and that you’re going to climb through – you can hear it popping, you can hear ice and rock crashing down in various places around the valley.”
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As it turns out, the strange sounds are coming from the glacier itself, and they happen at night because of the drop in temperature.
In 2018, a team of researchers from the Arctic Research Center at Hokkaido University, Japan, studied the seismic activity of the Trakarding-Trambau glaciers in the Nepalese Himalayas.
The team had trekked through the area the year before and had heard the bizarre sounds coming from the glacier at night.
“We hear this loud boom,” says Evgeny Podolskiy, the lead author of the study. “We noticed that our glacier is bursting, or exploding with cracks at night.”
Over the course of three weeks, the team listened to the noise and studied seismographic data to try and understand why the glacier was making these sounds.
They discovered that there were abrupt nightly temperature drops due to the glacier’s high altitude, which caused the ice to contract and expand, resulting in booming noises.
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“Local ice turns out to be very sensitive to this high rate of change,” Podolskiy explains. “As the temperature drops rapidly at night, the ice contracts quickly and causes cracking.”
While the phenomenon may be unsettling for those trying to get some rest on Everest, it is an important discovery for scientists trying to understand the dynamics of glaciers and how they respond to temperature changes.
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