“Dynamic glaciers identified as cause of Southeast Alaska’s summer ‘ice quakes’”

Article by Matt Miller. Listen to the audio of a large iceberg in Antarctica scraping against the ocean floor or another iceberg and read the full article here.

Excerpt from the article:

“This year the ice quakes started in May, with a big spike in activity starting four days before late June’s heatwave in Southeast Alaska. Ruppert said there have already been a hundred ice quakes recorded so far in 2021.”

“Last year, glaciologist Jason Amundson of the University of Alaska Southeast actually flew out to investigate one of the bigger ice quakes near Wright Glacier and Mount Ogden on the United States-Canada border.

“The glaciers in that area are pretty small,” Amundson said. “To produce an earthquake like that, that could be detected regionally, you would need to have a pretty big event.””

All text cited is from Matt Miller, APM

Why 536 was ‘the worst year to be alive’

” Ask medieval historian Michael McCormick what year was the worst to be alive, and he’s got an answer: “536.” Not 1349, when the Black Death wiped out half of Europe. Not 1918, when the flu killed 50 million to 100 million people, mostly young adults. But 536. In Europe, “It was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive, if not the worst year,” says McCormick, a historian and archaeologist who chairs the Harvard University Initiative for the Science of the Human Past.

A mysterious fog plunged Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into darkness, day and night—for 18 months. “For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during the whole year,” wrote Byzantine historian Procopius. Temperatures in the summer of 536 fell 1.5°C to 2.5°C, initiating the coldest decade in the past 2300 years. Snow fell that summer in China; crops failed; people starved. The Irish chronicles record “a failure of bread from the years 536–539.” Then, in 541, bubonic plague struck the Roman port of Pelusium, in Egypt. What came to be called the Plague of Justinian spread rapidly, wiping out one-third to one-half of the population of the eastern Roman Empire and hastening its collapse, McCormick says. ”

Writing by Ann Gibbons; Read the full article on Science Mag here.