Encyclopedia of Solid Earth Geophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Harsh K. Gupta

Earthquake Sounds

  • Andrew J. MichaelEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-10475-7_201-1

Definition

Earthquake sounds. Atmospheric pressure waves associated with earthquakes, especially those audible to humans.

Introduction

“…previous to an earthquake, a roaring is usually heard,” wrote Lucius Annaeus Seneca, around 65 C.E., in the sixth volume of Naturales Quaestiones (translation by Clarke and Geike 1910). While Seneca’s explanations for earthquakes now seem fanciful, this statement remains accurate, and historical records of earthquake sounds have been joined over the last few decades by instrumental studies of this phenomenon.

A particularly interesting case of earthquake sounds concerns the long-reported noises near Moodus, Connecticut, whose town name is derived from a Wangunk word meaning “place of noises” (Brigham 1871). Reports of these noises predate the arrival of European settlers who described them as accompanying shaking “as though in an earthquake” (Davis 1897). Seismographic studies of the earthquakes that accompany the Moodus Noises demonstrate that these...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This article greatly benefited from reviews by Madison Goldberg, Jeanne Hardebeck, David Hill, Carol Mark, Stephanie Ross, and Matthieu Sylvander.

Bibliography

  1. Anonymous (1951) Earthquakes – recorded on tape, engineering and science monthly, California Institute of Technology, Nov 1951Google Scholar
  2. Benioff H (1953) Earthquakes around the world. In: Out of this world. Cook Laboratories, StamfordGoogle Scholar
  3. Bolt BA (1964) Seismic air waves from the great 1964 Alaskan earthquake. Nature 202:1095–1096.  https://doi.org/10.1038/2021095a0CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brigham WT (1871) Volcanic manifestations in New England: being an enumeration of the principal earthquakes from 1638 to 1869. In: Memoirs of the Boston society of natural history. Boston Society of Natural History, Boston, pp 1–28Google Scholar
  5. Clarke J, Geike A (1910) Physical science in the time of Nero being a translation of the Quaestiones Naturales of Seneca. MacMillian, London, p 368Google Scholar
  6. Davis WM (1897) Current notes on physiography. Science 6:834–835CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davison C (1938) Earthquake sounds. Bull Seismol Soc Am 28:147–161Google Scholar
  8. Donn WL, Posmentier ES (1964) Ground-coupled air waves from the great Alaskan earthquake. J Geophys Res 69:5357–5361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ebel JE (1982) The 1981 microearthquake swarm near Moodus, Connecticut. Geophys Res Lett 9:397–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Evers LG, Haak HW (2001) Listening to sounds from an exploding meteor and oceanic waves. Geophys Res Lett 28:41–44.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2000gl011859CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ewing JA (1883) Earthquake measurement. Tokio Daigaku, Tokyo, p 125Google Scholar
  12. Fee D, Matoza RS (2013) An overview of volcano infrasound: from hawaiian to plinian, local to global. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 249:123–139.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2012.09.002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Goldberg K, Packer R, Kunh G, Matusik W (1999) Memento Mori: an internet-based earthwork, Berkeley. http://goldberg.berkeley.edu/art/mori/
  14. Goldberg K, Maffre M, Packer R, Possokhov Y (2006) Ballet Mori: a ballet conducted by the earth, San Francisco. http://goldberg.berkeley.edu/art/Ballet-Mori/
  15. Green DN, Guilbert J, Le Pichon A, Sebe O, Bowers D (2009) Modelling ground-to-air coupling of the shallow ml 4.3 Folkestone, United Kingdom, earthquake of 28 April 2007. Bull Seismol Soc Am 99:2541–2551.  https://doi.org/10.1785/0120080236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hill DP (1976) Physical constraints on sounds generated by very small earthquakes, U.S. Geological Survey open file report, p 27Google Scholar
  17. Hill DP (2011) What is that mysterious booming sound? Seismol Res Lett 82:619–622.  https://doi.org/10.1785/gssrl.82.5.619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hill DP, Fischer FG, Lahr KM, Coakley JM (1976) Earthquake sounds generated by body-wave ground motion. Bull Seismol Soc Am 66:1159–1172Google Scholar
  19. Hill DP, Reasenberg PA, Michael AJ, Arabasz WJ, Beroza G, Brumbaugh D, Brune JN, Castro R, Davis S, dePolo D, Ellsworth WL, Gomberg J, Harmsen SC, House L, Jackson SM, Johnston MJS, Jones L, Keller R, Malone S, Munguia L, Nava S, Pechmann JC, Sanford A, Simpson RW, Smith RB, Stark M, Stickney M, Vidal A, Walter S, Wong V, Zollweg J (1993) Seismicity remotely triggered by the magnitude 7.3 landers, California, earthquake. Science 260:1617–1623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Holzer TL, Fletcher JB, Fuis GS, Ryberg T, Brocher TM, Dietel CM (1996) Seismograms offer insight into Oklahoma city bombing. Eos 77(393):398–399Google Scholar
  21. Ichinose GA, Smith KD, Anderson JG (1999) Seismic analysis of the 7 January 1998 chemical plant explosion at Kean canyon, Nevada. Bull Seismol Soc Am 89:938–945Google Scholar
  22. Japan Meteorological Agency (1968) Report on the Matsushiro earthquake swarm, Aug 1965–Dec 1967, technical report of the Japan meteorological agency, pp 125–137Google Scholar
  23. Johnson JB, Ripepe M (2011) Volcano infrasound: a review. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 206:61–69.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2011.06.006CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jones LM, Bernknopf R, Cox D, Goltz J, Hudnut KW, Mileti D, Perry S, Ponti D, Porter K, Reichle M, Seligson H, Shoaf K, Treiman JA, Wein A (2008) The ShakeOut scenario, U.S. Geological Survey open-file report 2008–1150, p 312Google Scholar
  25. Kilb D, Peng Z, Simpson D, Michael A, Fisher M, Rohrlick D (2012) Listen, watch, learn: SeisSound video products. Seismol Res Lett 83:281–286.  https://doi.org/10.1785/gssrl.83.2.281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Koper KD, Wallace TC, Holnack D (1999) Seismic analysis of the 7 August 1998 truck-bomb blast and the American embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Seismol Res Lett 70:512–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Koper KD, Wallace TC, Aster RC (2003) Seismic recordings of the Carlsbad, New Mexico, pipeline explosion of 19 August 2000. Bull Seismol Soc Am 93:1427–1432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Le Pichon A, Mialle P, Gulbert J, Vergoz J (2006) Multistation infrasonic observations of the Chilean earthquake of 2005 June 13. Geophys J Int 167:838–844.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-246X.2006.03190.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Loos W, Scherbaum F (1999) Inner earth, a seismosonic symphony. Traumton, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  30. Mallet CE (1862) Great Neapolitan earthquake of 1857, vol 2. Chapman and Hall, London, p 399Google Scholar
  31. Mallet CE, Mallet JW (1858) The Earthquake catalogue of the British association with the discussion, curves, and maps, Etc. The British Association for the Advancement of Science, London, p 768Google Scholar
  32. Michael AJ (1997) Listening to earthquakes, USGS. https://earthquake.usgs.gov/education/listen/ or 10.5066/P90ILS3Z
  33. Mutschlecner JP, Whitaker RW (2005) Infrasound from earthquakes. J Geophys Res 110:D01108.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2004JD005067CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Le Pichon A, Herry P, Mialle P, Vergoz J, Brachet N, Garcés M, Drob D, Ceranna L (2005) Infrasound associated with 2004–2005 large Sumatra earthquakes and tsunami. Geophys Res Lett 32:L19802.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2005gl023893CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pulli JJ, Stewart RR, Johnston JC, Tubman KM, Michael AJ (1980) Field investiation and fault plane solution of the Bath, Maine, earthquake of April 18, 1979. Earthq Notes 51:39–46Google Scholar
  36. Rogers DV (2010) Parkfield interventional EQ fieldwork (PIEQF), masters thesis, University of New South Wales, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  37. Souriau A (2006) Quantifying felt events: a joint analysis of intensities, accelerations and dominant frequencies. J Seismol 10:23–38.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10950-006-2843-1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Steinbrugge KV (1974) A catalog of earthquake related sounds. Bull Seismol Soc Am 64:1409–1418. Sound files at https://www.seismosoc.org/inside/earthquake_sounds/Google Scholar
  39. Sylvander M, Mogos DG (2005) The sounds of small earthquakes: quantitative results from a study of regional macroseismic bulletins. Bull Seismol Soc Am 95:1510–1515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sylvander M, Ponsolles C, Benahmed S, Fels JF (2007) Seismoacoustic recordings of small earthquakes in the Pyrenees: experimental results. Bull Seismol Soc Am 97:294–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Thouvenot F, Jenatton L, Gratier J-P (2009) 200-m-deep earthquake swarm in Tricastin (lower Rhoˆ ne valley, France) accounts for noisy seismicity over past centuries. Terra Nova 21:203–210.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3121.2009.00875.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tosi P, De Rubeis V, Tertulliani A, Gasparini C (2000) Spatial patterns of earthquake sounds and seismic source geometry. Geophys Res Lett 27:2749–2752CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tosi P, Sbarra P, De Rubeis V (2012) Earthquake sound perception. Geophys Res Lett 39:L24301.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2012gl054382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wald DJ, Quitoriano V, Dengler L, Dewey J (1999) Utilization of the internet for rapid community intensity maps. Seismol Res Lett 70:680–697CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.USGSMoffett FieldUSA