Stranger Sounds: The Most Mysterious Noises Heard Around the World
There’s no shortage of strange and mysterious sounds that can be heard around the world.
No, we’re not talking about that new music genre that you can’t quite wrap your head around; we’re talking about noises that happen in nature and sounds that are created accidentally.
Some of these sounds have simple explanations, whereas others needed time and intense investigation to uncover the truth.
Follow us as we listen intently on the surface of the planet, deep beneath the oceans and we’ll even travel into outer space to bring you some of the most mysterious and strange sounds heard around the world.
Recorded on several occasions since the 1970s, the Hum is a strange low-frequency humming sound that can only be heard by around two percent of the world’s population.
Although it can’t be pinpointed to a single location, the Hum has been documented in Canada, England, Scotland, New Mexico and New Zealand.
Of the small number of people who hear the Hum, they stated that they hadn’t always heard it, nor did they have a history of hearing any unexplained noises. What’s more, they said that it’s generally heard indoors and that it becomes louder at night.
Scientists believe the most likely answer is industrial equipment. However, other potential suspects include radio waves, wireless communication devices, power/gas lines, Earth’s tremors and electromagnetic radiation.
The world’s oceans are home to some of the most unusual sounds found in nature. For over 70 years, the microphoned network of underwater depths have been listening carefully.
At first, they were used to reveal enemy submarines during the Cold War, but in recent decades they’ve been employed to discover the sources of noises such as the Bloop.
In 1997, the Bloop was caught on tape by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The sound lasts for around a minute and it consists of a low rumble which raises in frequency.
Noticeably louder than anything an animal could produce, it was eventually determined that The Bloop was the sound of massive icebergs splitting near the Antarctic Circle.
NOAA was also responsible for the capture of Deep Noise. They recorded the sound in March 2016 from the deepest spot on Earth, which isn’t as quiet and solitary as one would imagine.
A titanium-encased microphone was lowered at no more than five metres a second to adjust for the drastic change in pressure and it was submerged seven miles (11km) deep for 23 days.
The not-so-silent Mariana Trench is in the western Pacific Ocean and is estimated to be ten times noisier today than it was 50 years ago.
As well as the sounds of different types of whales singing for the microphone, boats, submarines and construction projects were observed, as well as the rumbling of nearby earthquakes.
THE SOUND OF THE PLANET
Although the low “hum” of planet Earth cannot be heard by humans, incredibly sensitive seismographs picked it up in the 1990s and brought it to our attention.It wasn’t until extensive studies were undertaken and the results were published in 2015 that we knew just how complex the vibrations that caused Earth to ring like a bell were.
Computer models found that there are vibrations occurring around and inside the Earth at all times, even without the presence of earthquakes.
Imagine every ocean wave hitting the shore and the sea bed in a slow rhythm. That’s what makes the noise in question.
Ocean waves create faint seismic waves with very slow sound frequencies between 13 and 300 seconds. It is believed that the longest of these waves is the eventual sound generated.
The beautiful Northern Lights are not only a sight to behold, but also a sound to behold too; if you know the right place to listen.
After 15 years of lone research, an acoustician from Finland by the name of Unto Laine made the first known audio recordings of the auroras in September 2011. His interest was first piqued when reports were made of a crackling/popping sound in the skies of Finnish Lapland.
Laine set up an intricate microphone rig in the snow and waited. He was rewarded when an intense aurora appeared around 300 kilometres (185 miles) above his head.
Something that surprised even Laine was that he calculated the sound of the aurora was only 230 feet (70 metres) above him.
Auroras are caused when solar flares interact with Earth’s magnetic field. The sounds heard are a combination of electrical charges being trapped and released in the cold air.
THE LONELIEST WHALE
In 1989, an American military network was listening for nuclear submarines when they recorded a very odd noise. Upon closer inspection, the sound was identified as being the call of a blue whale.
Despite the speech pattern being familiar, which allowed for its identification, the whale’s main singing notes were uniquely high-pitched and registered at 52 hertz.
This may sound like just a low bass note to the human ear, but most blue whales speak between 10 and 40 hertz, so it was speculated that “Sad Moby” had trouble communicating with the other whales.
Researchers kept a keen eye on the whale for decades, and they later discovered that its voice had dropped to around 47 hertz. It’s believed that whales have different “dialects” and that Sad Moby made friends with blue whales that spoke close to his language and that he adjusted over time.
THE BIRTH OF NEW VOLCANOES
World-wide seismic events began occurring in May 2018. Earthquake monitoring agencies around the globe detected major activity, as well as a strange humming sound for the next few months.
By November of that year, some of the seismic signals were lasting up to 20 minutes and members of the scientific community were lining up to take a swing at solving the mystery.
Over 7,000 tectonic earthquakes were recorded during the scope of the study. The most severe of those had a magnitude of 5.9 in May 2018.
The astonishing number of earthquakes was eventually traced to the island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean, between Africa and Madagascar. The quakes and the long-period seismic signals came from 22 miles off the island’s eastern coast, where the early stages of a volcano’s birth were forming deep underwater.
Astronauts on the Apollo 10 command module got an earful of something eerie in 1969.
While the crew were out of touch with Earth, due to orbiting the far side of the moon, they began hearing “weird music” in their spacecraft. Being out in the emptiness of space is the last place you want to encounter any spooky goings on.
Transcripts of the mission’s audio tapes were released by NASA in 2008 where it was revealed the astronauts heard “outer space” music for an hour and discussed whether or not they should report it.
Then, in 2016, NASA made the recordings public in a documentary about Apollo 10’s journey. This was the same year that Apollo 11’s moon landings took place.
NASA technician and astronaut Michael Collins experienced the same thing during the trip, explaining away the phenomenon as radio interference between the command and lunar modules.
JUPITER’S BOW SHOCK
Not only is Jupiter the largest planet in our solar system, but it also gives off a rather strange sound.
As NASA’s Juno spacecraft travelled to Jupiter in 2016, it spent two hours crossing Jupiter’s powerful magnetic boundary at around 150,000 miles per hour. During this time, the onboard instruments picked up this noise.
The roaring and screeching heard is made by a “bow shock” – a space storm that is the result of Jupiter’s magnetic fields interacting with supersonic solar winds that come from the sun.
BLACK HOLE IN B-FLAT
Two hundred and fifty million light-years away in the Perseus cluster of galaxies lives an active supermassive black hole that’s been making noise for some time.
While observing the area in 2002, the Chandra X-ray Observatory detected sound waves rippling through the surrounding gas. This was the first time a sound from so far away had been discovered and scientists speculated that it could also help to explain how galaxy clusters grow.
The “notes” heard were created by waves of pressure from electromagnetic eruptions from the hot disk of matter that gathered around the cluster’s central black hole.
They also happened to be in B-flat, hence the common reference to singing. However, since it’s 57 octaves lower than a middle-C, it cannot be heard by the human ear.
The researchers claim the black hole has been playing “the lowest note in the universe” for roughly two billion years.
Cover Credit: RODNAE Productions/Pexels
For more on soundscapes:
- Time For Tranquility: The Best Sounds To Help You Find Inner Peace
- Explore The Forest With Your Ears: Soundscapes From Around The World
- Marinate Yourself in Music: How to Create Ambient Soundscapes for Added Depth
- The Landscape Series Rethinks Sound’s Relationship To The Land
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Writer | DB Damage
DB Damage is a freelance content writer passionate about creative subjects like music, film, and video games. He studied IT and music technology at college and has a background in managing and promoting local bands.