Earth has been humming. We now know why.

One of the more mysterious phenomenons of recent years has to do with unexplained humming noises heard around the planet. In Canada, we heard about the Windsor Hum. The people of Taos, New Mexico, had a similar problem. Hums have been reported on all continents except Antarctica.

People are annoyed. Scientists are stumped. But now we might have the answer. All the hums seem to stem from a collapsing sub-oceanic magma chamber off the coast of Mayotte, an island found between Madagascar and Mozambique in the Indian Ocean.

Basically, it’s a forming undersea volcano, that started some 35 km below the floor of the ocean. As it punched through the crust, drained a huge reservoir of magma, creating earthquakes, which in turn generated some powerful low-frequency seismic bursts as the chamber cracked and sagged.

That volcano now juts about a kilometre above the bottom of that part of the ocean and two kilometres below the surface.

This growth caused Mayotte to sink eight inches, creating more seismic signals as the result of strains on tectonic plates. Put together, this resulted in something called Very Long Period signals, which sound like a large bell. They last up to 30 minutes and can be detected hundreds if not thousands of miles away. Hence the hum.

Read more here, here and here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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