Seismic Sound Lab

Welcome to Seismic Sound Lab at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

We develop methods for translating data into sound and animations, to make movies about processes that are beyond our range of direct perception. Though we started with earthquakes, the lab activities have expanded well beyond “seismic” and “sound”, but the name remains. In this site, we assemble a subset of movies we have made, and some “learning units”: movies assembled into short narratives to illustrate and provoke questions. In the near future, it will also have code examples to help teach our methods. For more info, see the companion site at seismicsoundlab.org, with info on our SeismoDome program at the Hayden Planetarium in NYC. And for even more, see our first site, “ Sounds of Seismology“.

The lab is based at LDEO and the Computer Music Center. Run by Ben Holtzman, an incomplete list of collaborators includes Jason Candler, Douglas Repetto, Arthur Pate, Anna Barth, Leif Karlstrom (and the Volcano Listening Project), Martin Pratt, Matt Turk, Lapo Boschi, Josh Russell, Seth Cluett, Joachim Gossmann, Vivian Trakinski, and many more!

Movies

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1976 Italy Earthquake, Mag. 6.5

A famous clip of the sounds we hear during an earthquake.

2 Billion Years of Plate Tectonics

Mantle convection drives plate motions

2007 Niigata Earthquake (16K)

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2007 Niigata Earthquake (4K)

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7 Years of Earthquakes: Japan

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Acoustic Emissions

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Ambient Seismic Noise

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Earth’s Free Oscillations

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Hurricanes

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Kilauea, HI (2000-2010)

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Kilauea, HI 2018

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Lone Star Geyser, Yellowstone

The dynamics of a geyser, sonified

Seismic Tomography

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Seismic Wave Propagation (2D)

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Seismic Wave Propagation (3D)

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Southeastern U.S. (2003-2016)

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Learning Units

Questions illuminated with movies!

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Listening to Earthquakes

What can we learn by listening to seismic data?

Tectonic Earthquakes: Patterns in space and time

How do patterns of earthquakes vary on different plate boundaries?

Volcanoes and Earthquakes

What kinds of seismic waves to volcanoes emit, and what do we learn from them?

Human-induced earthquakes and Energy

How do we cause earthquakes and what do the mean in the context of energy sources?

Climate Change

What causes climate change and how do we perceive its effects?

Geysers and Volcanoes: Scaling by Analogy

What can we learn by comparing the dynamics of geysers and volcanoes?