Sound of the Earthquake

A few days ago I saw an article called “Der Klang des Schreckens” (German, translates to “The Sound of Terror”) about an interesting project by Zhigang Peng, associate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He took the seismic recordings from the Great East Japan Earthquake last year and wrote a program to create sound based on the seismic vibrations.

Now you might wonder what practical purpose these sounds serve. The article mentioned above quotes Peng saying “This makes it possible to listen to the changes in pitch and amplitude while watching the change in seismic frequency at the same time” (German: “Man kann sich die Höhen- und Amplitudenveränderungen anhören, während man gleichzeitig den Wechsel der seismischen Frequenzen beobachtet”). So the idea is to help look at and listen to multiple characteristics of earthquakes at the same time, hopefully leading to a better understanding. If you listen to the sounds, remember that they’re massively faster that the actual vibrations. What takes seconds to listen to, were minutes or even hours in real time.

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