Researcher Records 'the Belly of the Earth Groaning'

sounds in glacier photo
Photo: mckaysavage / cc

While our science-minded assessment of geological systems have deduced that the planet as merely a composite of rocks, liquids and gases, to our our basic senses Earth seems nearly as alive we are -- and there is no shortage of evidence for this when it comes to sound. Whether it be in a breath of wind or the babbling of a brook, the audible dynamism of the natural world is in many ways analogous to our own. But it turns out, there are some sounds our planet makes that few have ever heard, like the low rumblings from inside the massive glaciers, that are among the most awe-inspiring.For over a decade, Stephanie Spray has traveled to the mountains of Nepal armed with audio recording equipment to capture the region's soundscape. As a graduate student from Harvard University, studying social anthropology, her initial aim was to focus on the sherpa's unique culture and setting as it stretches high into the Himalayas.

There, along the tallest mountain range in the world, Spray first became captivated by the haunting, primeval sounds emanating from deep within its glaciers and decided to aim her microphone towards that imperceptibly flowing river of ice from which so much of Nepalese life is derived.

Listen to the sounds of a glacier here.

"It sounds like the belly of the Earth groaning," Spray recently told The Guardian. "I find it terrifying. That is part of the appeal to me. For me it restores a kind of awe to the environment."

But as incredible and powerful as these sounds may be, our chance to experience them could be short-lived. Experts predict an astonishing 50 percent of the Earth's glaciers will be completely melted by the end of this century, with those in Nepal being among the hardest hit.

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