Encyclopedia of Solid Earth Geophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Harsh K. Gupta

Earthquake Sounds

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-10475-7_201-1


Earthquake sounds. Atmospheric pressure waves associated with earthquakes, especially those audible to humans.


“…previous to an earthquake, a roaring is usually heard,” wrote Lucius Annaeus Seneca, around 65 C.E., in the sixth volume of Naturales Quaestiones (translation by Clarke and Geike 1910). While Seneca’s explanations for earthquakes now seem fanciful, this statement remains accurate, and historical records of earthquake sounds have been joined over the last few decades by instrumental studies of this phenomenon.

A particularly interesting case of earthquake sounds concerns the long-reported noises near Moodus, Connecticut, whose town name is derived from a Wangunk word meaning “place of noises” (Brigham 1871). Reports of these noises predate the arrival of European settlers who described them as accompanying shaking “as though in an earthquake” (Davis 1897). Seismographic studies of the earthquakes that accompany the Moodus Noises demonstrate that these...

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This article greatly benefited from reviews by Madison Goldberg, Jeanne Hardebeck, David Hill, Carol Mark, Stephanie Ross, and Matthieu Sylvander.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.USGSMoffett FieldUSA