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What Does Nature Sound Like?

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Mysterious seas

The familiar sounds of the sea are captured in the incredible soundtracks of natural history documentaries as well as inside seashells when they are held up to our ears. The sound transports us to the blue planet that covers over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface.

In the summer of 1997, a number of hydrophones in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean picked up a bizarre new sound phenomenon. The underwater microphones picked up a signal that rose rapidly in frequency for about a minute before disappearing. The sound was picked up repeatedly by US government microphones for the duration of that summer but has not been heard since. It became known as ‘The Bloop’ and was detected by sensors over a range of 5,000 kilometers.

Initial tracking suggested that the sound profile of ‘The Bloop’ was comparable to that of a living animal. However it was far louder than any whale song ever recorded.

The mystery remains just a drop in the ocean of the hundreds of mysterious sounds that make our planet a sonic wonder.

This post was originally published by BBCEarth.


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6:47AM PDT on Oct 28, 2011

@Alison - Those same statements made me wonder, too, and then I decided the authors (BBCEarth Team) were simply waxing a bit poetic and not clearly stating what was meant - or at least not providing a clear path to those statements.

I think, from a purely objective scientific point of view, there is "good" to be found in listening to these sounds of the ice if they can be gathered and interpreted in a way that reveals further much needed and much desired data that will help better understand the workings of Mother Nature. Thus, the addition of more data would be "music to their ears" because more pieces of the puzzle would be more clearly revealed. But a scientifically minded appreciation of that "good" would not in any way imply that it is in any other way "good" that the ice is melting and making those sounds.

Being able to "hear the glaciers heave a sigh of relief" seems to me to be poetic and anthropomorphic commentary indicating that Mother Earth may be sighing, through the sounds of the ice, in relief that we humans may actually be getting closer to knowing and understanding that we are doing many things to the Earth that have serious negative impacts, and that we may change our behavior for the better of all beings, including Mother Earth. And that would be good. Hope that helps.

12:42AM PDT on Oct 28, 2011

I don't understand these two statements:
"However to researchers working in the field of climate science the groaning of the polar landscapes is music to their ears." and "it may be possible to use acoustics to measure the glacial melt. You can almost hear the glaciers heave a sigh of relief."

Why are these two things good? Because it proves the ice is melting? I'm confused.

10:50PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

~This article was really amazing~I heard some sounds on a story by Nat. Geo.~It's really cool to listen to nature's sounds!!~

9:14PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

Very few people listen to the sound of silence, the sound of nature because they walk around with earplugs blasting loud music into their ears and isolating themselves of what is really happening around them.
Humans are inherently stupid and unaware of what is happening around them.They do not care and life is passing them by without them realizing the beauty around them..Poor little insignificant human animals.

7:56PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

Thanks for very interesting information.

6:39PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

I can see why the world is full of sound today, it is because of natural forces within the planet that help us understand our ecosystem more.

5:23PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

The world is alive with the sound of music.... Thank you.

4:41PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

What a fabulous photo of a sand dune! Loved the whole article. Thank you.

2:55PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

I really like the section about 'stirring ice', what a great image!

2:10PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

very interesting. thanks.

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