Long-range detection of hydroacoustic signals from large icebergs in the Ross Sea, Antarctica

Jacques Talandier, Olivier Hyvernaud, Emile A. Okal, Pierre Franck Piserchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Hydroacoustic signals detected in late 2000 by seismic stations in Polynesia are shown to originate from huge icebergs which at the time were drifting in the Ross Sea after calving off the Ross Ice Shelf. The signals present a broad variety of spectral characteristics, most of them featuring prominent eigenfrequencies in the 4-7 Hz range, often complemented by overtones. Most epicenters, obtained by combining observations of distant hydroacoustic and regional seismic records, follow the spatio temporal evolution of the drift of iceberg B-15B. Most of the signals are generated during a 36-day time window when it is speculated that B-15B collided with smaller icebergs or was scraping the ocean floor on the shallow continental shelf. We speculate on the possible physical nature of the resonator generating the signals, which could correspond to an elastic mode of the iceberg, or to the oscillation of fluid-filled cracks in the ice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-534
Number of pages16
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 15 2002


  • Acoustical methods
  • Icebergs
  • Seismic waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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