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Listen: Earth Sings Whale Songs

First Posted: Apr 11, 2017 05:10 AM EDT
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Rattling furniture and knick-knacks, falling trinkets and an ominous rumbling, these are sounds that people usually equate with an earthquake. However, it seems that there is more to it than the feeling of unsteady ground. Some might say that earthquakes even produce "sounds."

In a report from National Geographic, two men embarked on a scientific journey that says there are more sounds from earthquakes that people should take notice of. In their research, geophysicist Ben Holtzman and musician/sound designer Jason Candler found that if people listen closely, they can actually hear earthquakes.

Their show called SeismoDome was born, with Holtzman writing the scientific content of the research, including the sounds from seismic data. On the other hand, Candler handles sound engineering and design, as well as writing and conception of the show.

But what does an earthquake actually sound like? Holtzman said that while seismic data is inaudible if played at a natural speed, large earthquakes have frequencies that are not within the human's hearing range. However, once shifted up, a much wider range of sounds could be heard, depending on how close the seismometer is to the source of the tremble. And when the waves are sped up, earthquakes actually turn out sounding like slow chirps, or even whale songs, as the two noted in their study.

What does the sound of earthquake have anything to do with surviving it, though? According to Holtzman, they want to "demystify" earthquakes, but more importantly, they want people to see such events as a "natural process." He also went on to explain that the vast majority of earthquakes do not actually hurt anyone, so learning more of the phenomenon can help people understand its nature more. This way, humans can understand how and where to build cities in the future, as well as avoid damage from earthquakes in the long run.

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