Seven miles deep, the ocean is still a noisy place
March 5, 2016 5:13 PM   Subscribe

NOAA reports: "For three weeks, a titanium-encased hydrophone recorded ambient noise from the ocean floor at a depth of more than 36,000 feet, or 7 miles, in the Challenger Deep trough in the Mariana Trench near Micronesia. Researchers from NOAA, Oregon State University, and the U.S. Coast Guard were surprised by how much they heard." The hydrophone recorded the sounds of whales, ships' propellers, typhoons, and an earthquake.

Researchers deployed the hydrophone from the Guam-based U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sequoia in July 2015. The device recorded sound continuously over 23 days, completely filling the flash drive. However, scientists had to wait until November to retrieve the hydrophone due to ships’ schedules and persistent typhoons. The device remained anchored to the seafloor until scientists returned.

Another OSU co-investigator on the project, Joe Haxel, will lead a planned return to Challenger Deep in early 2017, where the researchers will deploy the hydrophone for a longer period of time and attach a deep-ocean camera.


Deep-Sea Audio Recordings Reveal A Noisy Mariana Trench, Surprising Scientists

First Audio Recordings From the Bottom of the Mariana Trench are Nightmare Fuel
posted by mandolin conspiracy (20 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
The clip of the ship passing overhead is jarring. I remember reading that whales used to be able to communicate over thousands of miles, but that the advent of propeller-driven ships effectively put a stop to that.
posted by teponaztli at 5:26 PM on March 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


First Audio Recordings From the Bottom of the Mariana Trench are Nightmare Fuel

Came for recordings of the Deep Ones; left both disappointed and relieved.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:52 PM on March 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


I guess the real question would be, does anything down there have ears?
posted by jim in austin at 5:59 PM on March 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am actively mad at how loud propeller-driven ships are when heard from the deepest part of the Earth.
posted by Kitteh at 6:14 PM on March 5, 2016 [14 favorites]


Can you hear me when I stubbed my toe the other day? Everyone heard that.

i'm sorry mum
posted by adept256 at 6:17 PM on March 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Some people’s idea of "nightmare fuel" is pretty encompassing. I listen to things like that at night while I’m sleeping. I have not noticed it fueling nightmares.
posted by bongo_x at 6:34 PM on March 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


That's because you're not one of the awakened.
posted by mollweide at 7:06 PM on March 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I guess the real question would be, does anything down there have ears?

It's the eyes we're worried about. The many, many eyes.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:08 PM on March 5, 2016 [5 favorites]


Listening to that is definitely not my idea of a good time. I wonder how it made the people listening to it and coding sounds feel.
posted by limeonaire at 7:37 PM on March 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


The good news is that nightmares don't need fuel. They are endless and weightless, all around us, all-encompassing, silent, patient, eternal.
posted by beerperson at 7:48 PM on March 5, 2016 [10 favorites]


If you listen really carefully, you can hear mermaid murder.
posted by sleeping bear at 8:41 PM on March 5, 2016 [8 favorites]


Some people’s idea of "nightmare fuel" is pretty encompassing. I listen to things like that at night while I’m sleeping. I have not noticed it fueling nightmares.

That's because you're not one of the awakened.


Wouldn't it be the other way around, though? The unawakened are troubled in their sleep because their pitifully limited minds cannot process the infinities unfolding before them?
posted by tobascodagama at 6:48 AM on March 6, 2016


The earthquake is freaky.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:27 AM on March 6, 2016


Not sure what the nightmare fuel is supposed to be.
posted by doctornemo at 10:15 AM on March 6, 2016


Well this is pretty much my job. I have listened to stuff like this for 8 hours a day or more 24/7. These recordings don't sound much different from the rest of the ocean, really.

Scientists might have been 'surprised' because the bottom of the Mariana Trench goes well beneath the deep sound channel (~1000m). Any sound propagation above or below that depth will tend to refract toward it. So, the Challenger Deep should at least be a lot quieter than the water space above it.

Some interesting underwater sounds:
Boing Fish (Minke Whale) these guys are loud and all around Hawaii
Carpenter Fish (Sperm Whale) heard everywhere
More nightmare fuel?
I've also heard plenty of weird shit like babies crying (biologics?), and an old man laughing (ice?), but sadly no ancient, eldritch horror.
posted by MrFTBN at 1:29 PM on March 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


Okay, I was not creeped out at all until I thought about what it was like for people belowdecks in wooden ships far, far from shore, hearing mysterious tapping sounds from the other side of the hull. And then I realized most of our planet is covered in water full of who even knows what, going about its spooky mysterious business, and I felt very glad to be here on solid ground.
posted by gingerest at 4:08 PM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I love all of these.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:37 PM on March 6, 2016


MrFTBN, feel free to make a post about your job any time you feel like it.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:44 PM on March 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


benito.strauss:
4 years as a Sonar Operator on a several US submarines. It's hours upon hours of eye-bleeding boredom punctuated by moments of "Holy shit, we're about to get run over by this merchant!" and very rarely any Hunt for Red October stuff. Not that I'd be able to talk about that anyway.

Every once in a while I'll record an interesting sound or take a screen grab. But I'm not even sure how to go about declassifying any of that.

If you're interested in the physics, this is pretty much the only unclassified reference we've got. If you're curious about submarine stuff this guy on Reddit already answered about as much as I could.
posted by MrFTBN at 6:50 PM on March 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


sadly no ancient, eldritch horror.

I'm just going to assume that sort of thing is classified, too.
posted by asperity at 10:01 PM on March 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


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