Strange ice formations may have tricked physicists into seeing mysterious particles that weren’t there

Live Science | May 23, 2020 at 11:00 AM
  • The hope was that in Antarctica, tau neutrinos would sometimes hit Earth at shallow enough angles that they would decay in the ice, producing a tau particle and a characteristic, detectable radio signal from the tau’s passage through the ice.
  • The authors of the new study made a straightforward argument: When radio waves passing through air bounce off of a dense object, like the top layer of ice, their waveforms flip in the way ANITA expects.
  • Snow-covered crevasses, regions of stressed crystal known as “ice fabric layers” and lakes of liquid water buried beneath the frozen surface might all reflect a cosmic ray’s radio signal without mirroring it.