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Matterhorn sways to a seismic beat, interstellar propulsion system remains science fiction, goldfish drives a car – Physics World


The Matterhorn, an Alpine peak that straddles the border between Switzerland and Italy, is one of the most iconic mountains in the world. Isolated at the head of the Zermatt Valley, climbing the perfectly shaped mountain, which has a summit height of 4470 m above sea level, is on the to-do list of thousands of climbers – and some physicists. In 2019, an international team of scientists set out to take a closer look at the Matterhorn and installed several seismometers at different locations to record its movement. They found that despite the Matterhorn appearing like a huge immovable mass, it is in fact constantly on the move, swaying gently back and forth about once every two seconds. The researchers say that this subtle vibration, with a fundamental frequency of 0.42 Hz, is stimulated by seismic energy in the Earth originating from oceans and earthquakes, as well as – rather surprisingly – human activity.