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February 22, 2007

The sound of the world

wave image by emrld_cicada/flickr.com. Available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/39682836@N00/296584004/

You can't hear it, but the Earth is constantly singing. There is a constant hum right around 10 millihertz that can be heard (with the right instruments) anywhere on Earth, 24 hours a day.

So, the obvious question is, what's making that noise? Scientists have had lots of theories (earthquakes, noise from lightning strikes, wind rushing through mountain passes). Now a couple of researchers at Columbia University in New York have sussed it out.

It turns out the sound is caused by waves hitting shorelines all around the world. As waves rush in and then flow out, there are points where crests of waves coincide. At those points the water slams down against the ocean floor. Ceaselessly repeat that process all around the world's coastlines and you'll build up sound that carries all through the Earth.

There's an article about it on the New Scientist website.

(Thanks BLDGBLOG) (Photo: emrld_cicada/flickr.com).

Posted by Chris Spurgeon at February 22, 2007 12:49 PM