The Hum of Planet Earth

Earth is full of mysteries, even after years of research on its many features. Scientists are discovering new interests daily. Discoveries do not necessarily come with clear explanations. The knowledge that something exists often comes with many questions about the purpose and origin of the phenomenon. One such attribute of our planet is a steady hum or vibration that is constantly emitted from the earth. Scientists are steadily trying to place its source and purpose.

Discovery and Theories

The knowledge of this hum is nothing new. Scientists first discovered the constant vibration around the year 1959. Research on the subject did not occur until many years later, in 1998. The cause of this sound is an ongoing source of bewilderment. The theory of disruption by earthquakes was quickly ruled out. Vibrations can easily spread far past the epicenter of an earthquake, even beyond where upheaval is present. They may not even be felt by the people in the area. Vibrations resulting from earthquakes, however, are temporary. The hum in question is not intermittent.

Disturbances in the atmosphere also contribute to a theory that has been brought to the table. The idea that has the most backing, at present, focuses on the constant movement of the ocean. With about 71 percent of the earth covered in water, there is the possibility of some effects from the constant crashing of waves. This is a large area of earth that undergoes non-stop movement. The question still remains, however, if this is enough to warrant a hum that expands to every part of the earth. This theory is a favorite, at present.

Newest Evidence 

Attempts to record this phenomenon were previously unsuccessful. Seismometers focused on land measurements were tried first. They produced only partial information that remained inconclusive. The newest attempts at recording the recurring hum involved the use of seismic measurements along the ocean floor. This finally proved that the vibrations occur all over the world.

A station based on land in Algeria took the recordings and filtered out other noises. This delicate process focused on removing the overpowering ocean sounds, such as waves and currents. Common seismic movement and various glitches also had to be cleared out of the way. Once these were cleared out, the hum remained and did not cease. This noise is not a constant, calming sound that most people think about when they hear the word “hum.” It is, instead, a succession of unusual frequencies that would most likely be unpleasant if we could actually hear them. This is even more apparent with the new recordings.

Future Studies  

These new measurements are being compared to the previous land recordings, in hopes of clarifying the source of the humming. Future applications of the research may assist in the mapping of the Earth’s interior. The inside of our planet is often explored by sound and vibration only. This new discovery gives scientists a new avenue to consider when data is needed from under the Earth’s surface.

Some variations in data also need to be ironed out with further research. The most recent study showed no variation in the volume of the sound or seasonal changes. These findings are not in sync with earlier studies. At one point, some variety was noticed in the pitch and frequency. Further research is needed to find definitive answers.


The sound is much like the constant turning of the planet; we are unaware that it is happening on a daily basis. We do not feel the earth moving, and we are not likely to hear the Earth’s hum. The sound is too low for normal hearing to pick up. At 2.9-4.5 millihertz, your hearing abilities would have to improve by 10,000 times to be able to pick up the sound. Humans can hear sounds that start at around 20 Hertz.

Our Earth is, indeed, a mystery with many layers yet to be unveiled. The Earth’s hum went undetected until 1959, and initiation of research took almost 40 years. Now that information is progressing on the subject; perhaps some clear answers are not far away. Other than a better understanding of the origin, identification of this noise may help scientists in future studies of our planet. This constant humming is another example of the many phenomena going on in our environment every day.

Editor's Picks

Alexandra grew up dreaming of being a great science explorer. She always wanted to travel the world and explore some of the greatest science mysteries of the times. After high school, she studied chemistry in college and spent most of her summers working on research projects alongside her professors. It was there that Alexandra got clarity about what she wanted to do in the future. She now works full time in science research at a teaching university and is planning to go to medical school in a few years. She likes to stay up-to-date with the latest discoveries in science and share her love for science through her writing.

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