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Ice Sounds at Medicine Lake - nature landscape painting -

Ice Sounds at Medicine Lake

Artist: Kelly Rafuse
Siskiyou County, USA

I recorded this on an autumn morning on the shore of frozen Medicine Lake. Medicine Lake is a mountain lake that sits in the caldera of the Medicine Lake Volcano, a large shield volcano near the southern end of the Cascade Range. The lake is surrounded by coniferous forest with Lodgepole Pine, Ponderosa Pine, White Fir, Red Fir, and Mountain Hemlock. During the warm summer months it is a popular destination for camping and outdoor recreation, but in autumn the frigid nights and icy roads keep people away, and it is a quiet and peaceful place.
It was a cold morning and the air was absolutely still, with not so much as a breath of wind. The surface of the lake was entirely frozen, and the ice was about four or five centimeters thick. At the edge of the lake where I set up the microphone, ice that resembled broken plate glass was piled up along the shore from when a thin layer of ice formed on the surface and was subsequently broken up by strong wind and blown to the shore where it accumulated and froze together, creating numerous small cavities within.
Early on, when the sun was low in the sky it was obscured by high clouds and the morning was quiet. But as the sun slowly rose into the sky, the clouds eventually passed and when the sunlight hit the icy surface, it came alive with surreal, otherworldly sounds. As the ice warmed in the sunlight, it expanded and caused cracks to shoot across the surface, which in turn sent vibrations through the ice that produced the strange sounds you hear on this recording. The jumble of ice shards at the edge of the lake snapped and crackled, and water can be heard gently sloshing underneath as the ice flexed and undulated. All of these sounds came together to produce a truly bizarre and extraordinary soundscape. is a completely free streaming service of 800+ nature sounds from around the world, offering natural soundscapes and guided meditations for people who wish to listen to nature, relax, and become more connected.

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