Hear Japan’s Earthquake in Real Time Music
The USGS sensors around the world collect data on seismic activity — location, magnitude, depth within the earth — and transfers that activity back to a database. Micah then parses that data and applies various operations to create an audio sculpture. Essentially the sound is computer generated in real time based on the data from the seismic activity and some parameters.
Micah launched the project in October 2009 from his interest in sonification. “I was really interested in, basically, sonification and synthesizing data,” Frank said. “Listening to things is a whole different experience.” And with the recent deadly earthquakes, he has been able to generate some chilling audio that has never been captured before or put on the web for others to hear.
If you’re looking to interpret the sounds to get an idea of what was happening during the quake — where it took place, how far under the earth it was — there are some specific cues to listen for, Frank said. The sounds are generated using a sound processor from the seismic data. The pitch, for example, signifies the depth of the earthquake’s tremors.
The result of the sounds is audio portrait of an otherwise ineffable natural phenomenon. “It’s just another dimension,” Frank said. “I think a lot of people agree that it sounds like what the earth should sound like.”
Check out his stuff below.