The Roar of Japan’s 9.0 Quake

 

 

This sound is terrifying even a year later. It’s the voice of Japan’s 9.0 temblor and its aftershocks. Zhigang Peng at Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences converted the quake’s seismic waves into sped-up audio files that we can hear. 

The clip above was taken near the coastline of Japan between the nuclear reactor at Fukushima Daiichi and Tokyo. The initial blast is the 9.0 mainshock. Following that you can hear aftershocks, popping sounds, as the earth’s plates slip into new positions. 

 

 

Here’s Peng’s recording of the 2011 Japanese earthquake taken from seismic measurements thousands of miles away in California. The quake created subtle movements deep in the San Andreas Fault known as distant triggering.

You can hear the initial noise, which sounds like thunder and corresponds with the Japanese mainshock. Afterwards a continuous high-pitch sound, like rain turning on and off, reflects continuing tremor activity at the fault, as heard from afar in California.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate