Low Frequency Hum in the Earth

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TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 12, 2012 - 11:45am PT
This is another one of those topics that seems to attract posters who attack anything that isn't sanctioned by the media approved view of reality. I would really like some help in understanding something that I have been observing for years; not just another string of the insulting comments that obscure many ST discussions.

Since we already know who you are, and how brilliant and clever you are, I ask politely and with all due respect, please go find another thread.


I like the quiet places. I grew up exploring Idaho wilderness areas and spoiled by the beauty of environments that are not impacted by modern human hands. I seek out places to rest and meditate that are not overwhelmed by the sounds of traffic and city voices and emf signals from radio, tv, cell phones, etc. It is increasingly challenging to do that.

In recent years, whenever I settle down in such places, my attention is drawn to some low frequency humming sounds that seem to emanate from the earth. In the city these are commonly masked by other sounds

This is particularly noticeable every night at my home in the relative quiet of the Santa Cruz Mountains. For a number of years it sounded to me like a large motor generator set running somewhere nearby, a deep humming sound modulating slightly in frequency under load. More recently the sound is stable at one frequency, but starts and stops like a very slow Morse Code. These sounds are distracting or disturbing to someone trying to be in tune with the sounds of nature, or meditate, or just resting.

I have explored various possible sources of these sounds; turning off the master electrical breaker, turning off and draining the water pipe system, getting to know my neighbors (many of us have generators up here), talking to the water company people who pump water up to the supply tanks above the neighborhood. Many people are not so aware of background sounds, however most people seem to be able to hear these same sounds if they can stop talking long enough to listen for a few minutes in a quiet place.

For a while I thought perhaps that highway traffic was causing the earth to resonate. However that was before it started the on/off pulsing patterns.

I thought perhaps this could be some unusual form of Tinnitus, as I have certainly spent enough time in noisy computer floors and concert orchestras and factories and driving motorcycles, ships, airplanes and race cars before we became aware of the hazards of chronic exposure to loud noises. However Tinnitius usually involves the high end of the auditory range, not the low end. Plus these sound I am hearing demonstrate clear patterns that are not affected by head position or other such factors. And I do am not to my knowledge experiencing any significant hearing loss, quite the opposite, as I usually hear things before most people who are with me.

Tinnitus is not a disease, but a condition that can result from a wide range of underlying causes: neurological damage (multiple sclerosis), ear infections, foreign objects in the ear, nasal allergies that prevent (or induce) fluid drain, or wax build-up. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines may cause tinnitus as well. In-ear headphones, whose sound enters directly into the ear canal without any opportunity to be deflected or absorbed elsewhere, are a common cause of tinnitus when volume is set beyond moderate levels.

Tinnitus may be an accompaniment of sensorineural hearing loss or congenital hearing loss, or it may be observed as a side effect of certain medications. However, the most common cause is noise-induced hearing loss.

As tinnitus is usually a subjective phenomenon, it is difficult to measure using objective tests, such as by comparison with noise of known frequency and intensity, as in an audiometric test. The condition is often rated clinically on a simple scale from "slight" to "catastrophic" according to the practical difficulties it imposes, such as interference with sleep, quiet activities, and normal daily activities.[1]

Tinnitus is common: about 20% of people between 55 and 65 years old report symptoms on a general health questionnaire, and 11.8% on more detailed tinnitus-specific questionnaires.[2]

Tinnitus can be perceived in one or both ears or in the head. It is usually described as a ringing noise, but in some patients, it takes the form of a high-pitched whining, electric buzzing, hissing, humming, tinging or whistling sound, or as ticking, clicking, roaring, "crickets" or "tree frogs" or "locusts (cicadas)", tunes, songs, beeping, sizzling, sounds that slightly resemble human voices or even a pure steady tone like that heard during a hearing test.[3] It has also been described as a "whooshing" sound, as of wind or waves.[4] Tinnitus can be intermittent, or it can be continuous, in which case it can be the cause of great distress. In some individuals, the intensity can be changed by shoulder, head, tongue, jaw, or eye movements.[5]

Most people with tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss,[6] in that they are often unable to hear clearly external sounds that occur within the same range of frequencies as their "phantom sounds".[7] This has led to the suggestion that one cause of tinnitus might be a homeostatic response of central dorsal cochlear nucleus auditory neurons that makes them hyperactive in compensation to auditory input loss.[8]

The sound perceived may range from a quiet background noise to one that can be heard even over loud external sounds. The term tinnitus usually refers to more severe cases. Heller and Bergman (1953) conducted a study of 100 tinnitus-free university students placed in an anechoic chamber and found 93% reported hearing a buzzing, pulsing or whistling sound. Cohort studies have demonstrated damage to hearing (among other health effects) from unnatural levels of noise exposure is very widespread in industrialized countries.[9]

For research purposes, the more elaborate Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) is often used.[10] Persistent tinnitus may cause irritability, fatigue, and on occasions, clinical depression[11][12] and musical hallucinations.[13]

As with all diagnostics, other potential sources of the sounds normally associated with tinnitus should be ruled out. For instance, two recognized sources of very high pitched sounds might be electromagnetic fields common in modern wiring and various sound signal transmissions. A common and often misdiagnosed condition that mimics tinnitus is Radio Frequency (RF) hearing,[14] in which subjects have been tested and found to hear high-pitched transmission frequencies that sound similar to tinnitus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinnitus

None of these pan out as a source of the sounds. So I started seeking elsewhere for answers.

I experienced the same phenomena with somewhat different sound patterns at other remote locations, in various mountain ranges and deserts throughout the Western USA, on South Pacific islands, out at sea, etc. Similar phenomena were experienced, with somewhat different frequencies and pulse patterns.

It is easy to speculate about all sorts of unusual phenomena as a source. But first I would like to see if this phenomena is being experienced by others in the community of people who frequent the quiet places in the wilderness.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Sep 12, 2012 - 11:53am PT
My father is 95% deaf and yet he still hears a "motor" running somewhere nearby. It's a very hap-hazzardly kind of thing, yet he's very sure it's humming along somewhere.

Sometimes when I'm in big banquet style halls, with a multitude of folks talking, I hear nothing but white noise. I can't differentiate individual voices or words.

But then again I have more cones and rods then most folks;)
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 12, 2012 - 12:00pm PT
As a trained musician, I am pretty good at focusing in on hearing just one instrument in an orchestra or one voice in a crowd. My challenge in listening to people talking is that I tend to hear the emotive content in their voices as a distraction to the word content.

Another factor is that the humming sounds seem to be distinctly different in one local vs another; such as the South Pacific vs Santa Cruz vs the Pacific Northwest area.

I have tried hard to eliminate any likelihood of a subjectively induced perception before bothering people on this forum to consider the subject.
khanom

Trad climber
Greeley Hill
Sep 12, 2012 - 12:01pm PT
This topic has come up before. I think I even started a thread on it once.

I have experienced this phenomenon in a few places over the years. More recently I have heard a low hum at various remote locations in the Sierra. That I've hear it in some places and not others may be attributed to any number of factors -- either it isn't there or I don't always hear it or pay attention to it.

The one place I found it most prominent was also one of the more remote: Around the Glacier Lakes NW of Mt Clarence King and SW of State Peak. In this one spot it seriously went from background to foreground in terms of obviousness. I took a half day as rest there and then camped in the area and it was very audible the whole time. It sounded like a distant diesel generator, but there are not trails let alone roads out there.

I've also noticed it as rather "loud" in certain places several miles east of 395 north of Mammoth.



... posters who attack anything that isn't sanctioned by the media approved view of reality.

This is not a fair characterization, to say the least. Some people, for some peculiar reason, really like to have some kind of credible evidence. Go figure. In this case direct personal observation leads me to believe that "something" is happening. But I'm not going to conclude that it's a secret government mind control program or a soviet plot left over from the cold war era. Again, go figure.


Edit: Forgot to say that I've come to believe that this is in fact a personal physical phenomena. Something in our bodies that is common to many and that can come into the foreground of our attention when conditions are right. Not actually an external "noise"

Ed, surely someone has tried?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 12, 2012 - 12:02pm PT
if you can hear it
and the sound is external
then you should be able to measure it with appropriate low frequency microphones

a spectral analysis of the result would be a good starting point to identify its origin

Srbphoto

climber
Kennewick wa
Sep 12, 2012 - 12:08pm PT
it seems you are so focused on hearing the "sounds of nature" that you are missing the sounds of nature. Don't focus on your preconcieved notion of what nature sounds like. Try tuning into the sound, something may be revealed.





TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 12, 2012 - 12:09pm PT
if you can hear it
and the sound is external
then you should be able to measure it with appropriate low frequency microphones

a spectral analysis of the result would be a good starting point to identify its origin

Yes, certainly true Ed. You would think I would have access to a spectrum analyzer, but short of buying one myself, don't happen to have access to one.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 12, 2012 - 12:11pm PT
you can make an audio file on your computer...

then spectrum analyze it with freeware, like Audacity

only need to locate a microphone with low frequency response
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 12, 2012 - 12:14pm PT
... posters who attack anything that isn't sanctioned by the media approved view of reality.

This is not a fair characterization, to say the least. Some people, for some peculiar reason, really like to have some kind of credible evidence. Go figure. In this case direct personal observation leads me to believe that "something" is happening.

I like to think of myself as one of those people who demand credible evidence before being convinced of anything. I understand that my interests in unusual phenomena make some people question that.

And I think we have plenty of demonstrations of media sanctioned views of reality that are frequently not based upon credible evidence.
steveA

Trad climber
bedford,massachusetts
Sep 12, 2012 - 12:14pm PT
I think Ed hit the nail on the head.

Interesting Topic
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 12, 2012 - 12:21pm PT
you can make an audio file on your computer...

then spectrum analyze it with freeware, like Audacity

only need to locate a microphone with low frequency response


Thank you very much, Ed. I was not aware of that capability. I do have access to high quality microphones and can check their published frequency ranges. I think the sounds in question are in the range of 20 to 40 cycles.

The lowest note on a double bass viol is either 41 or 31, about an octave above the lowest tone usually audible to the human ear
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 12, 2012 - 12:23pm PT
you should also check (calibrate) the band pass of your computer's ADC
they're usually pretty good

but some of them are susceptible to onboard noise

TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 12, 2012 - 12:24pm PT
it seems you are so focused on hearing the "sounds of nature" that you are missing the sounds of nature. Don't focus on your preconcieved notion of what nature sounds like. Try tuning into the sound, something may be revealed.

This poster clearly doesn't know anything about the nature awareness training available from The Tracker School, where i have been a student for decades.
MH2

climber
Sep 12, 2012 - 12:28pm PT
A related question is: What information might there be in audio frequencies below 40 cycles/sec? Do any animals have good hearing at low frequencies? I believe that low frequency sounds carry further, and remember speculation that if birds could hear the rumble of waves on the beach, they could know which way to the coast when they couldn't see the ocean.


http://www.dosits.org/science/soundmeasurement/soundsanimalshear/
Srbphoto

climber
Kennewick wa
Sep 12, 2012 - 12:32pm PT
This poster clearly doesn't know anything about the nature awareness training available from The Tracker School, where i have been a student for decades.

if you accept Tom Brown as the end all of nature awareness then I accept your statement.
cliffhanger

Trad climber
California
Sep 12, 2012 - 12:40pm PT
Nada Yoga means union (yoga) with the Self, the nadam, that primordial energy which is the source of all that is. In the rigveda, the oldest text of the 4,000 year old vedic scriptures of India, sound is called nada brahma (sound of the creator god brahma). The great Sufi teacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan, said: "Creation is the music of God." In other words, the universe arose/arises out of the music of God, that resounds and manifests itself in all of nature. Sound plays a vital role in all mystical traditions, as it is the bridge between the lower and higher worlds, the unconscious and the conscious, the form and the formless. In India many forms of Nada Yoga are found. The two main paths are the practice of the renunciant and the practice of the householder. The goal is the same: Self-realization through sound or nadam, i.e. to realize that the I AM is neither body nor mind, that "I am That". The renunciant nada yogi meditates on the inner sound current, thus traveling into the more subtle realms of his being by shifting his focus from the gross sounds heard in the body to the more and more refined sounds until merging with the unstruck sound, the anahata nada. The householder who lives in the world focusses on singing or playing the outer pure sound on an instrument to connect with the inner sound current, i.e. the unstruck sound or anahata nada.

http://www.shantishivani.com/NadaYoga2.html
The Call Of K2 Lou

climber
Squamish
Sep 12, 2012 - 12:41pm PT
It, um, sounds like (sorry) someone may be running a grow op near you. Just one possibility.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 12, 2012 - 12:48pm PT
In this case direct personal observation leads me to believe that "something" is happening. But I'm not going to conclude that it's a secret government mind control program or a soviet plot left over from the cold war era. Again, go figure.

I am specifically not saying that I have any understanding of what is the source of these sounds. I am simply asking about other members of our community who may have experienced them. It is easy to speculate various mundane or wild concepts, and much more difficult to verify.

TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 12, 2012 - 12:51pm PT
if you accept Tom Brown as the end all of nature awareness then I accept your statement.

No I don't. But he knows a lot more than most, including you and me.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 12, 2012 - 12:55pm PT
I would love to think that I have been hearing the whales, but don't think so for purposes of this discussion...

Song of the Humpback Whale
Spectrogram of Humpback Whale vocalizations. Detail is shown for the first 24 seconds of the 37 second recording Humpback Whale "Song". The ethereal whale "songs" and echolocation "clicks" are visible as horizontal striations and vertical sweeps respectively. Spectrogram generated with Fatpigdog's PC based Real Time FFT Spectrum Analyzer.

Humpback Whale "Song"
Recording of Humpback Whales singing and Clicking.
Problems listening to this file? See media help.

Two groups of whales, the Humpback Whale and the subspecies of Blue Whale found in the Indian Ocean, are known to produce a series of repetitious sounds at varying frequencies. This is known as whale song. Marine biologist Philip Clapham describes the song as "probably the most complex in the animal kingdom".[13]

Male humpback whales perform these vocalizations only during the mating season, and so it is believed the purpose of songs is to aid sexual selection.[6] Whether the songs are a competitive behavior between males seeking the same mate, a means of defining territory or a "flirting" behavior from a male to a female is not known and the subject of ongoing research.[citation needed] Males have been observed singing while simultaneously acting as an "escort" whale in the immediate vicinity of a female. Singing has also been recorded in competitive groups of whales that are composed of one female and multiple males.[citation needed]

Interest in whale song was aroused by researchers Roger Payne and Scott McVay after the songs were brought to their attention by a Bermudian named Frank Watlington who was working for the US government at the SOFAR station listening for Russian submarines with underwater hydrophones off the coast of the island.[14]

The songs follow a distinct hierarchical structure. The base units of the song (sometimes loosely called the "notes") are single uninterrupted emissions of sound that last up to a few seconds. These sounds vary in frequency from 20 Hz to upward of 24 kHz (the typical human range of hearing is 20 Hz to 20 kHz). The units may be frequency modulated (i. e., the pitch of the sound may go up, down, or stay the same during the note) or amplitude modulated (get louder or quieter). However the adjustment of bandwidth on a spectrogram representation of the song reveals the essentially pulsed nature of the FM sounds.

A collection of four or six units is known as a sub-phrase, lasting perhaps ten seconds (see also phrase (music)).[citation needed] A collection of two sub-phrases is a phrase. A whale will typically repeat the same phrase over and over for two to four minutes. This is known as a theme. A collection of themes is known as a song.[citation needed] The whale will repeat the same song, which last up to 30 or so minutes, over and over again over the course of hours or even days.[citation needed] This "Russian doll" hierarchy of sounds has captured the imagination of scientists.[weasel words][citation needed]

All the whales in an area sing virtually the same song at any point in time and the song is constantly and slowly evolving over time.[citation needed] For example, over the course of a month a particular unit that started as an "upsweep" (increasing in frequency) might slowly flatten to become a constant note.[6] Another unit may get steadily louder. The pace of evolution of a whale's song also changes—some years the song may change quite rapidly, whereas in other years little variation may be recorded.[6]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whale_sounds

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