Earth Sounds

Earthquake Fault Sounds

Each fault or fault segment emits a sound that is like a human fingerprint. No two are alike.  

In 1998 I began researching the issue of whether or not human beings could hear earthquakes before they occurred and just having reached the eleventh year of this research project, I believe that the answer is an unequivocal, yes, they can.  Update: 09/09/09 - It is now scientifically understood how this happens, however, we will have to await a formal paper to release the information in detail. 

Some don't believe this is possible and think it has an origin in psychic phenomena, however, it has no paranormal elements. A good test of this thought is to imagine if someone were using a paranormal means to identify where this sound belongs, they would know where it belongs and not have to guess, perform any research, develop any method or theory to prove it, because they would know and be correct each and every time.

Understanding what we hear before earthquakes arrive to most is a mystery and thus this page is devoted to affording you, the reader, the opportunity to learn more about our research and listen to our sound wav files and know that for each sound it mimics the geology of an area that matches the sound. As an example, high-pitched sounds of 8,000hz or greater belong to areas which have dense rock compositions like granite or obsidian and basalt produces a 700 hz very low sound.

In addition to hearing the primary sound, there is an added element which is also heard that denotes whether the sound belongs to a long fault or a short one which we have classified as a “trailing sound.” In the process of hearing an earth sound the listener will hear the sound initially at a given volume and after some seconds pass the sound volume will reduce and it is this reduced sound which we believe tells us how long the fault would be that would produce this particular unique earthquake sound. For we who live in the San Francisco Bay Area as an example, a sound that would be heard with no trailing sound or perhaps only one second would tell us it’s a local short fault, but a primary sound which is longer in duration and has a long trailing sound would potentially belong to long faults such as the Hayward or San Andreas Fault. 

As to what direction to look for an upcoming potential event, this research group’s members all have a similarity in hearing and in that if we hear sounds in our left ear, earthquakes would arrive for locations west and north of us and when we hear sounds in our right ear we would look south and east.

Through mapping we are able to use these examples of sound to help narrow down the location of future earthquake events. In practice, if someone reported a high pitched sound as an example, we would not look for an area like a desert, but a mountainous region instead. 

In this research project the volume is what we use to determine the magnitude of an upcoming earthquake event. We use a scale from 1 to 5, with one being a very soft sound to 5 being so loud it could be heard above a blaring television or other form of background noise.  In the realm of sound experience I have heard very short light sounds for events which I have been able to identify locally as low as an M 1.7 and know the actual street where it originated due to multiple experiences in hearing that sound to the M 6.8 2001 Nisqually earthquake which was so loud it would be compared to hearing a freight train no further than an arms length away. 

Experience in working with these sounds for many years has made it clear to me that each and every earthquake location has its own signature sound which is so unique to it that it is the same as a human fingerprint. It is not a matter of hearing the length of the San Andreas Fault as an example, but which exact part or fault segment of the San Andreas Fault which is on the verge of moving in an earthquake. A human ear has many capabilities, however, if what we heard could be instrumentally recorded directly from an earthquake fault, a sound identification process could be developed which would be more finite.

There are a host of other details in this process which are to numerous to share without writing an extended paper on this process, however, in the most essential basic communication of this process from sound to quake; without creating a list of extended questions, this is the best explanation I can communicate here.

In use in prediction this method has had somewhat favorable results. In 2007 when I issued 217 site specific global earthquake predictions, forty-one of them were as a result of someone hearing a sound and of those only five resulted in false alarms, where no events took place. The most distant event predicted was for Nicaragua. This method out-performed all other methods included in the program and our results on forecast modeling were nearly 80%.

A clear division has to be drawn between proving the theory of persons hearing earthquakes and predicting them. In some situations a person will report hearing a sound and the location may be easy to discern, however, making a decision as to the potential magnitude based upon the volume of the sound heard can be problematic in prediction. When I acquire the information from a co-researcher, I may make an assumption that a quake might arrive as an M 4.0 as an example and later discover the earthquake did arrive and in the correct location, but may be registered as an M 3.9 instead of an M 4.0.  Thus there would be no doubt the methodology worked correctly, but the assumption I made in prediction formulation was incorrect. 

The research for this program has now been completed with over 1,000 reports received and data analysis is underway. 

This program is copyrighted and while you are invited to use the method, if you do so in a public medium, please acknowledge the Petra Nova Challus Earth Sounds Research Program in doing so. 

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