The mountains of California have been bare of snow until just yesterday, allowing people to drive all over Yosemite seeing places that are inaccessible in the winter. My sister, an old Yosemite hand, visited Tenaya Lake above Yosemite Valley and reported that the ice-covered lake was making loud sounds "like the sounds of whales." There's a name for that, according to the AGI Glossary of Geology: ice yowling.
It turns out that Henry David Thoreau described the phenomenon in detail in Waldennot at Walden Pond, but at Flint's Pond on 24 February 1850: "The pond began to boom about an hour after sunrise, when it felt the influence of the sun's rays upon it from over the hills; it stretched itself and yawned like a waking man with a gradually increasing tumult, which was kept up three or four hours. It took a short siesta at noon, and boomed once more toward night, as the sun was withdrawing his influence. . . . The pond does not thunder every evening, and I cannot tell surely when to expect its thundering; but though I may perceive no difference in the weather, it does. Who would have suspected so large and cold and thick-skinned a thing to be so sensitive? Yet it has its law to which it thunders obedience when it should as surely as the buds expand in the spring."
Ice yowling has been on my geologic life list for a long time. Three other sounds are on it: the audible report of an earthquake, the booming sounds of large sand dunes and the cracking sounds of cooling basalt lava. I've checked off the first two, but it may be a while before I witness the third.
What other geologic sounds should be on a life list?
Tenaya Lake courtesy Bruce Fincham