iD magazine

Does the Earth ring like a bell?


We all know that earthquake­s cause our planet to vibrate. But scientists have discovered a constant low-frequency humming even in the absence of quakes. It occurs at frequencie­s between 2.9 and 4.5 millihertz—so low that it is inaudible to human ears. And it’s everywhere: “The earth is ringing like a bell all the time,” says Spahr Webb, a marine seismologi­st at Columbia University. There is speculatio­n that the phenomenon may be caused by the collision of ocean waves or movements in the atmosphere. The bottom line: We just don’t know what causes the resonance.

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