Listen

News 88.9 KNPR
Classical 89.7 KCNV

member station

NPR
Science

Why Does A Frozen Lake Sound Like A Star Wars Blaster?

506438291_1575325122.jpg

Cory Williams, LiveEachDay

This winter brings the latest installment of the Star Wars franchise, full of familiar costumes, familiar villains, and the familiar "pew pew pew" of space guns. But you can skip the movie theatre and still hear those iconic blaster sounds if you visit a frozen lake.

Cory Williams discovered this natural phenomenon back in 2014, when he moved from California to Alaska. He tried skipping rocks across the icy surface of Edmonds Lake, just up the road from Anchorage. His YouTube video of the space age twanging that ensued was viewed 11 million times.

This year, Williams returned to Edmonds Lake and made another discovery. The lake was singing on its own. Why? And how? The latest video from Skunk Bear, NPR's science youtube channel, reveals the origin of that iconic sci-fi sound effect and explains why it can be heard every year in the frigid wilds.


Got your own science-y questions for us? Use this form to send them our way. We'll do our best to answer on Skunk Bear's YouTube channel.

Support comes from

You can follow Cory Williams' Alaskan adventures on his YouTube channel, LiveEachDay.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for.  If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.