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Eerie Underwater Recording of Deadly Indonesian Earthquake
Yahoo News & LiveScience.com ^ | July 22, 2005 | Robert Roy Britt

Posted on 07/23/2005 4:03:54 AM PDT by bd476

Sound from last December's huge tsunami-causing earthquake was picked up by underwater microphones designed to listen for nuclear explosions.

Scientists this week released an audio file of the frighteningly long-lasting cracks and splits along the Sumatra-Andaman Fault in the Indian Ocean.

The spine-tingling hiss and rumble is an eerie reminder of the devastation and death that is still being tallied in the largest natural disaster in modern times.

At least 200,000 people are thought to have died as a result of the magnitude 9.3 earthquake, the tsunami, and the lack of food, drinkable water and medical supplies that followed.

The audio recording of the quake starts out silent. A low hiss begins and the intensity builds gradually to a rumbling crescendo. Then it tails off but, frighteningly, builds again in waves as Earth continues to tremble.

The audio file [here] is sped up 10 times to make it easier to hear. As it was recorded, the sound was at the lower threshold of human hearing, but it could have been noted by someone paying attention.

"If you were diving even hundreds of miles away you could hear this," said study leader Maya Tolstoy of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "You would hear it as sort of a 'boom.'"

Future help

An analysis of the recording suggest a new way to monitor earthquakes in near real-time, providing critical information about an earthquake's intensity and potential hazard that could supplement seismograph data, which typically requires hours and even days to properly analyze.

"We were able to constrain some details such as the speed and duration of the rupture more accurately than traditional seismic methods," Tolstoy said. "Moreover, we found the earthquake happened in two distinct phases, with faster rupture to the south and slower to the north, almost as if there were two back-to-back events."

Tolstoy told LiveScience that the recorded sounds raced from the rupture more quickly than the tsunami wave. The entire quake's sounds took about 45 minutes to reach the hydrophone. Were a system set up to use such data, analysis might be done in about 15 minutes, Tolstoy said.

The tsunami took hours to reach some locations.

An analysis of the data is detailed in the July/August edition of the journal Seismological Research Letters.

Sound travels

It is not surprising the sounds were picked up.

An earthquake releases energy of varying types. Its seismic waves -- those that shake the ground -- are technically just a variation on sound waves. And sound travels well in water. Whales can hear each other call from more than 1,000 miles away.

Tolstoy said people at sea have heard the rumblings of distant volcanoes when the sound hits the hull of a ship.

And this was no small earthquake. It ruptured the planet along 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) of fault. Scientists estimate the Indian plate slipped 33-50 feet (10 to 15 meters) under the Burma microplate. The fault shook for at least eight minutes. A typical large earthquake lasts 30 seconds or so.

Earth's very gravity balance was altered and the North Pole shifted by an inch.

The recorded data was provided in March to scientists by the International Monitoring System of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Tolstoy and her colleague, DelWayne Bohnenstiehl, converted the data to make the new audio file.

Tolstoy hopes that in the future scientists will gain easier and earlier access to such data.

"There is an opportunity here to make a contribution to international disaster monitoring, as well as help us better understand earthquakes and tsunamis and potentially mitigate these events in the future." she said. "It makes sense to let others listen in."

The sound file is here.

A spectrogram of the data shows energy released, with red being the most. A peak in energy is seen about 300 seconds into the event. Credit: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bigwave; catastrophe; disaster; earthquake; ocean; quake; science; sumatra; sumatraquake; surf; tidalwave; tsunami; wave
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1 posted on 07/23/2005 4:03:55 AM PDT by bd476
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To: capitan_refugio; lainie; oceanperch; Darksheare; Quilla; SubMareener; Esther Ruth; kimchi lover; ...

Earthquake Ping List. Please send a Freepmail if you want to be added to or removed from this list.


2 posted on 07/23/2005 4:05:11 AM PDT by bd476
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To: bd476

If you play it backwards, you hear Satan saying, "___________________". <--- (your joke here)


3 posted on 07/23/2005 4:06:36 AM PDT by martin_fierro ( ˇMÁS TIMBALES!)
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To: martin_fierro

LOL, oh great now that you've got me laughing I'll never get to sleep!


4 posted on 07/23/2005 4:08:02 AM PDT by bd476
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To: martin_fierro

"I spit the devil, banana, banana."


5 posted on 07/23/2005 4:10:23 AM PDT by new cruelty
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To: bd476

Fascinating. Thanks.


6 posted on 07/23/2005 4:11:11 AM PDT by Jet Jaguar
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To: martin_fierro
If you play it backwards, you hear Satan saying, D'oh!
7 posted on 07/23/2005 4:12:34 AM PDT by JRios1968 (The C-5 Galaxy (http://www.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?fsID=84)...sometimes, size DOES matter!)
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To: bd476

Interesting!


8 posted on 07/23/2005 4:12:53 AM PDT by cvq3842
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To: Jet Jaguar

You are welcome - glad to have found it.


9 posted on 07/23/2005 4:14:24 AM PDT by bd476
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To: cvq3842

It's kind of spooky, too. Nothing man can do or make can equal that sound.


10 posted on 07/23/2005 4:16:11 AM PDT by bd476
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To: martin_fierro
If you play it backwards, you hear Satan saying, "___________________". <--- (your joke here)

"Plugh."

11 posted on 07/23/2005 4:17:56 AM PDT by mhking (The world needs a wake up call gentlemen...we're gonna phone it in.)
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To: bd476

Holy moly.


12 posted on 07/23/2005 4:19:50 AM PDT by GVnana
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To: mhking

A hollow voice says "Fool."


13 posted on 07/23/2005 4:21:56 AM PDT by Tennessee_Bob ("Nac Mac Feegle! The Wee Free Men! Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! We willna be fooled again!")
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To: bd476
It's kind of spooky, too

It certainly is! Thanks for posting it, very interesting!

14 posted on 07/23/2005 4:22:45 AM PDT by Ros42
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To: All
Here's the thread about the December 26, 2004 9.0 Quake in Sumatra:

Magnitude 9.0 Earthquake - OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA

15 posted on 07/23/2005 4:31:19 AM PDT by bd476
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To: Ros42

You're welcome. :-)


16 posted on 07/23/2005 4:38:06 AM PDT by bd476
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To: bd476

I highly recommend the book Krakatoa by Winchester.


17 posted on 07/23/2005 5:25:34 AM PDT by Mercat
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To: bd476
Want an interesting little tidbit?

I just listened to the sound file up in volume....and my CATS WENT SPASTIC! They had their ears back and were low-running away....and I am a musician and they NEVER run when I am practicing, no matter the volume!!

Test this out with your animals! Maybe THIS is what they are able to hear BEFORE an earthquake that WE can not!

18 posted on 07/23/2005 5:33:51 AM PDT by Itzlzha ("The avalanche has already started...it is too late for the pebbles to vote")
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To: bd476

It's eerie, especially when you realize what is being unleashed in those moments.


19 posted on 07/23/2005 5:38:24 AM PDT by SlowBoat407 (A living affront to Islam since 1959)
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To: bd476; Itzlzha

Great! I forsee this file being put on CD and played by them punks with the stereo systems in their little foreign cars that rattle windows for a block around.

And as Itzlzha says, every domestic animal will now shred the homes they live in.


20 posted on 07/23/2005 5:42:41 AM PDT by RandallFlagg (Roll your own cigarettes! You'll save $$$ and smoke less!(Magnetic bumper stickers-click my name)
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