(Observations from 1990 ‐ 2008)
For someone who has not heard the Hum I would recommend listening to Dr Tom Moir's recordings at Hum Recording. Some may have difficulty hearing this depending upon their hearing and the speakers used.
Or go to Wikipedia The Hum where you'll find background information. It will be assumed you have read these documents and listened to the recordings, as it is not intended for them to be critiqued.
One way of expressing the Hum sound is with clinched teeth, breath out using a deep throat sound and say Hummmmm.
The Hum is not the hum found in cities, as the Hum will cut through this when active and is much louder and more debilitating.
It is common to describe it in the following ways:
- A loud diesel engine sound.
- Hearing a noise through the pillow and bed.
- The sound is like that of a propeller driven aeroplane which is in the far distance and the sound level goes up and down as if the wind takes the sound away.
- A high-pitched whistle, which starts abruptly and lasts a few moments and then drops away to a moderate level, but stays in the background for long periods.
- A continuous and modulated wave like tone.
- The sound of underground pumps.
Individual experiences of the sound are considerable and to gauge the effect I often ask people to rate their experince from 1-10. At 10 you feel as though you will literally die or need to immediately get out of where you are for fear of your life, i.e. a flight or fight response. Responses vary but it is very common to have 6-9 out of ten from sufferers. When you consider that these people may have been suffering for considerable time it is understandable that they will often sell their home's to find a better environment to live in. To react in such a severe way will give some understanding of how important it is to them, yet a neighbour living only a few metres away experiences nothing.
The Hum is a disruptive sound of unknown origin heard by one or more persons usually in a house. It disturbs people's sleep and is related to the physical location of the house rather than to the individual. Usually talk about the Hum is not deemed to be socially acceptable because essentially you are stating you are hearing things that others cannot hear, and so qualified and capable people who experience it will try to avoid this societal view and put up with this unusual phenomenon or quietly leave their home's. It is therefore hoped that by discussing this phenomenon in this format, knowledge and understanding may be increased.
The Hum is experienced usually by keeping the person awake because their mind keeps ticking over, and rest cannot be achieved because of many unimportant thoughts surfing through their mind. Through research I see these as the effects of infrasound on the body, as it mimics the natural signals of an alert or semi alert brain and keeps the sufferer from switching off and falling asleep. People have difficulty in falling asleep at some point but with our current knowledge about the unconscious or subconscious mind we easily mis-diagnose the problem as stress related or worries about family or work of the subconscious. We often will say we were worried about so and so and lost sleep to them but also admit it was not something too important and wonder why the subconscious brought this out so forcefully. The common belief takes us away from a more accurate explanation that has little to do with todays stress or worries and theories of Freud and Jung.
There appears to be a natural variation in people's level of hearing and the level at which discomfort is felt. The Taos Hum in USA showed there was about 2% of the population who could be classified as hearers, and from my research about 1-2% of the hearers experience the vibration that is associated with it. Some have seen this small impact on people as the canary in the miner's cage, and hence something to be concerned about and investigated. The problem with the Hum is that most of the population cannot hear it. This may be due to being tuned differently or possibly the Hum is not loud enough for them, but this does not mean it is not real nor that non-hearers are unaffected. From listening to NZ media, sleeping is a big problem today, which suggests something is disrupting people's sleep, which is not controllable by going to bed earlier. My observations in the area of central Auckland makes us believe that up to 50% of the population physically suffer from the Hum's affects but don't hear it. The reason people don't complain is they put it down to a personal sleep problem, and do not readily question friends and neighbours about whether they also have similar sleep problems. This lack of understanding results in a lack of consultation and means people will continue to suffer silently. The affects of lack of sleep becomes dangerous the longer people suffer, as rest is required if you are to function properly. Therefore when sleep is not available health issues must arise. It is therefore understandable that when someone suffers badly from the Hum effects they search for a cause and hopefully find a solution.
People who are new hearers of the Hum appear to be quite normal and from a typical cross-section of society. You must wonder about the person, but the more learnt the more it was realised the phenomenon was unrelated to the person. Thus, when a new sufferer tries to work out what's going on, they search for the source, but soon find no man made source is obvious. They may then blame the closest suspicious and powerful government establishment and for those living in the USA, often this is the armed forces who are testing new technology on them, This is a natural reaction when they finally realise the swimming pool next door, or the electrical transformer at the end of the street can't be blamed for it. If blaming the armed forces had merit then we would have to blame the New Zealand forces for the Hum. This would be rather absurd considering our resource and expenditure levels, and our relationship with the USA over nuclear technology. The USA would be unlikely to lend us new technology, let alone high tech sonic technology to test on the population. For NZ that could leave the Australian's but why would they focus currently on Auckland and not any other city? Though Auckland is curerntly hearing the hum it is also heard in other areas of NZ. To further put this idea into disrepute, as part of the Auckland based research team under Dr Tom Moir, we had an engineer who had worked with the British forces in the right high tech areas but he knew nothing to explain it. Therefore it is concluded that blaming the armed forces anywhere in the world is grasping at straws, as is blaming the Russians or the Chinese, depending on who is the flavour of the decade. Therefore we must discount all armed forces anywhere in the World. Any focus on weaponry of other absurd reasons may point more to a sociological or psychological issue in the population.
The Hum not only has a sound to it but has been observed to produce temperature changes. While studying it I was at the house of a sufferer who had complained of intense noise yet her partner heard nothing. We were sitting in the lounge of their brand new house discussing experiences when the Hum suddenly 'clicked' on. I turned to her and said it has just started and she nodded in agreement and said yes, but to me I had not experienced quite this clicking on method and said It must be the fridge so I went to check it, but it was not on, nor was there any other appliance running. The summers day was very hot about 28 degrees C and I wore shorts and tee shirt and no shoes on. All of a sudden I said my feet have just gone cold and felt it progress to my knees while sitting on the couch. I said that I had never experienced such a thing but they said they would often walk around with thick socks on to keep warm. I have no health issues related to circulation and they appeared to be normal also so I put the experience solely down to the action of the Hum. It appears that at this location the Hum would not only have a sound but also affect temperature in people. The person may not be able to hear it as in the case of the male partner but they experienced the change in temperature in their extremities. To me it was particularly chilly similar to putting my legs into a fridge, though uncomfortable one could cope with it for awhile but then had to get it resolved.
Normal changes to temperature noted in my own house relates to feeling hot in bed. This may occur at anytime during the night when the Hum is active causing me to throw the bed covers off, even on a cool night when room temperatures are between 8-15 degrees C. Eventually the temperature subsides, maybe after an hour, and I can pull the covers back and return to sleep. I know of no physiological cause related to some another source other than the Hum being active and so believe this to be the cause. Further it may not be repetitive so it may happen with weeks or months between experiences. Non hearers are equally affected maybe on other nights but of course they cannot deduce the Hum.
A similarly interesting observation has been the restlessness one experiences in bed when the Hum is active. Often I would have the need to shake a leg when trying to go to sleep. Though tired the legs felt tight and then almost involuntarily I would need to shake a leg to relieve the pressure that had built up in it. Eventually the twitching would subside but that could be after an hour or more after going to bed. Other nights my wife would have the experience yet I did not, so I was kept awake as a result, as she was when I had it. The person need not be a hearer of the Hum to experience what is often called jumping limb syndrome, but when they are unable to hear the Hum they cannot build a connection to the environment they are in, nor to the affects of the Hum. When you take this phenomenon as well one regarding temperature I can conclude that more than 2% of the population complain of the affects but have no way of explaining it.
It appears that the Hum has been felt in the past and is not a modern phenomenon. As one example, I recently went to a theatrical show first performed in 1905 where one character experienced loud flapping sounds that others did not hear and felt very hot on a cold day, to me, a perfect example of the Hum! Other reports in the more distant past talk of buzzing bees, but today we talk of engines, but all this relates to a comparable experience. The Hum was also reported in the 1940's and 50's in Britain just as it is today, so whatever it is; it is not something created using modern technology.
It would appear hearers of the Hum are more sensitive to low hertz sound and lower volume levels than the recognized average limits of hearing. Normal hearing goes down close to 20 Hz, but hearers tend to have even lower hearing levels than those considered by these hearing tests. A small test carried out on the author by Dr Tom Moir and a colleague using a speaker with a low hertz frequency playing could be heard quite easily at voice level but these two gentlemen could not hear the sound at all.
People often presume that modern electrical technology and appliances are the cause of the Hum. Everyone is aware of transformers humming on the street as the alternating current flows through them. If this were the cause you would expect when the power goes off the Hum would stop, but this has been shown not to occur. Some people have also said that 400kV transmission lines are the cause especially in Britain, but this is discredited in New Zealand where there are only 240kV transmission lines. The Hum has also been reported in a number of locations on the Earth's surface and some of these places are not in or near a city nor close to power lines. Therefore, modern electrical technology is again not the obvious cause.
Some manmade sounds may have similar frequencies, but they are not seen to be the source. If for example an underground pump were operating at 1500 rpm would have a frequency of 25Hz, which is within the Hum's frequency range. But for it to affect a person many kilometres away would have to have a lot more energy than a typical pump has. For a long time I had thought this was the cause for myself, but I could not find times that correlated with my experiences. Though I do see a man-made frequency at this level could add to the sound effects of the Hum, but it is not seen as energetic enough to be the cause. And because I could never correlate starting and stopping times of known pumps, this was discounted as the source.
The Hum is often perceived to occur at certain times during the day and sometimes worse on Friday and Saturday nights. Some people see 9.00pm and 3.30am or 1 hour later during daylight saving periods as common starting points However some state it is going 24/7 but with lighter periods over the day, others hear it clearly during the day even when in a stationary car without the engine going. From experience the Hum does seem to be erratic in occurrence over time, as it rises and falls in intensity over a month and over years. Some people don't even know about it for nearly a lifetime until one day it all happens and they suffer terribly.
If the Hum originated from radio transmitters, cell phone towers or high voltage power lines you would expect those living right under them to be complaining the most. It would be fair to say people have had up to 80 years to make this connection to power lines, and radio transmitters but have not. In tests we used a Faraday tent for testing this theory; this tent blocks or greatly reduces frequencies above 1MHz, which are related to manmade devices, but the Hum was not removed.
Magnetic radiation from computers and phones are real and affect some people, possibly the same people who suffer from the Hum. This can add to the tiredness experience, and unless the sufferer is exposed 24/7 at high levels it is not seen as the cause of sleep loss or the Hum. My own experience has shown that magnetic radiation is not as intense as the Hum, where magnetic radiation is somewhere between 1 and 10% of a bad Hum. I have also found magnetic radiation more like a circular cloud surrounding the transmitter and so is easier to evade. However when you become sensitised and suffering from the Hum you have a lower threshold for other intrusions, making these other sources more debilitating.
Those who have not experienced the Hum commonly mistake tinnitus for the cause. When you talk to a sufferer they commonly say that the sound is very intense when inside the house, but when they step outside the sound reduces considerably. When that same person travels to another city or even within another part of the city the sound is reported to be gone. Put simply, tinnitus does not stop by going outside, or to another house or city as tinnitus goes with the sufferer and does not stay with the house. Doctors see tinnitus as a sound heard by an individual and no one else and is explained as an issue with the mechanism of the ear rather than the environment. So armed with this sort of classification it becomes easier to classify the person and then ignore other causes.
It is a common misconception that the Hum is conceived to be at a constant frequency and sound level. It has been my experience as I have shifted around Auckland, that various locations have various frequencies and noise levels even when less than a kilometre apart. This makes it difficult for someone to blame modern technology within a city, as technology such as electricity is evenly spread throughout built-up areas. My observations have shown the Hum to range from 4Hz to 51Hz, and when active does cause unusual effects on people, often driving ability is impaired in some. It should be noted that I have talked about a sound but I need to remind you that hearers and non-hearers may experience the infrasound without hearing a sound. The Hum sound at higher frequency levels are different from those at lower levels and are experienced differently even though they are still in the infrasound range. By example, one person in a house experiences sleep loss yet others sleep through even though the Hum is active that night. Other nights the roles may be reversed and the remaining people are affected but not the first person. This is put down to other frequency or groups of frequencies prevailing, which some people, even genders, are more susceptible to but others are not.
The Hum for the first time was recorded inside a number of houses in Auckland by Dr. Tom Moir and was verified by several hearers. Recordings were limited to above 20 Hz and proved that it was a sound. It is my experience that recordings below this level has been very beneficial but this requires more technical understanding. When the Hum enters a house it tends to be associated with the walls, or as some people suggest emanates from lines of force in the structure. This is an important point as some people tie the phenomenon of gravity to the Hum hence it is sensed in houses. The Hum does occur outside buildings but to a lesser volume level though I suggest this is because the sound comes from only one surface when outside rather than from 6 as in a room, and may also be reflected off them to the inside of the room.
My experience of the Hum has shown me that it has characteristics that are similar to electricity. It has a main force like the electrical current and a lesser force that radiates similar to magnetic radiation. John Dawes (UK hum sufferer found on the net) firmly believes the walls and the eaves of houses are electrified from the Hum, and has built his own equipment to measure it. From my own tests it does not appear to be a regular sine wave, but something quite different (Figure1). Readings have shown a definite Saw Tooth shape with two added signals with small shifts to the wave one at -3/10 phase on left and the other at +4/10 phase on the right side of the strong peak signal. Where the high point is at 10 and the span is over 20. Each of the peaks has different voltages, which causes the graph to vary in shape, but because of the complexity of the graph this is an area requiring more investigation by those more qualified. One University investigator in the USA also identified a saw tooth wave, which gives more weight to findings.
The following Graphs represent images found on an oscilloscope when using a microphone capable of measuring from 0hz. Saw tooth sounds are not associated with electricity as this is a sine wave only and at around 50 or 60hz depending on where you live. Some musical instruments do produce this kind of waveform but of course is not the cause of the Hum.
Figure 1. Common waves observed when the Hum is active
The other interesting observation is that the Hum is not only sound but is also a vibration. My experience of the vibration was principally related to a local volcanic cone, Mt Hobson. At this location it showed classic infrasound characteristics as shown in scientific infrasound testings. I suggest reading:
"Infrasound and Low Frequency Vibration, edited by W Tempest, Academic Press Inc London, 1976" especially (Physiological & Psychological effects of infrasound at moderate intensities; Effects of intense infrasound on man; and Subjective effects of vibration".
These tests on people point to the Hum being an infrasound especially the vibrations that I experienced. At a different location but still in central Auckland the vibration has been felt as bubbles. This has occurred only once but may have happened to others. The sensation was as if when lying in bed there were many small hits or explosions on the body. The impacts were not intense but were noticeable and felt like lying on an open fizzy bottle as the bubbles surged up to hit on the body.
My own experiments in trying to exclude the vibration portion of the Hum have shown that it is a sound plus vibration and with the correct arrangement of materials, I have reduced the vibration portion by 95%. This equipment is to my own specific design and is not available commercially. This vibration is believed to be about 15-25Hz and have a high decibel level. Essentially, to reduce the affect I have installed a baffle that stopped the vibration exerting force on me. The arrangement was placed under the legs of the bed, and as such could only stop vibrations coming through the floor. This resulted in a key finding for me that the Hum comes from the ground and not the air. The vibration affects were noticeable in my solarplex area and to a lesser degree over my whole body while lying in bed and was much more debilitating than the sound. The equipment however, is not as effective on the common Hum sound reported by many and noticeable by myself in our new house. This Hum sound I suspect is a higher frequency and outside the bed equipments range. It seems to come through the walls more and is not as intense as the vibration and probably is at 50.9Hz. This value is important, as normal mains power is 50Hz +/- 0.1 making this sound not a manmade source.
It is often reported by sufferers in Auckland, New Zealand that the Hum sound comes from one direction, usually approximately West, though this probably is not the situation for all who experience it. It is possible that each country or geographical area ,where it is observed, will show different arrival directions. By example, when in Melbourne, Australia I once wondered if it came from the East.
Probably the most important observation I have made is that the Hum is not stationary or fixed in one location. Through observations made by one other sufferer we tracked the movement of a Hum wave over Auckland, such that the start and finish points of the sound wave were 18km apart. The starting point of this wave was felt in the first location and over the next few days it was observed to stop. Then in the second location this wave was then felt to start and then to stop exactly after the same number of days. The weeks before and after were quiet with no Hum periods. This was achieved by using two houses 33km apart the first in Kumeu and the second in Mt Wellington giving them a West to East direction (bearing direction 300.7 degrees from North, between houses). Through calculation it travelled at approximately 6m/min between the two points. The exciting point about this observation is, the Hum acted as if it were one large body moving toward the second house. This points to an underground non-manmade action which had movement or wave motion and also a sound. This finding is one of the most crucial pieces of evidence to be presented and builds the case for further research and is more than any investigator has reported in the media.
Storms Under Our Feet!
"It literally feels like the Orks of a massive underground murderous industrialized military complex feverishly at work under our city gearing up for war". Mr Padma living in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada 2000-2009, a mountain town hundreds of kilometres from a recognised city.
There are three key observations that have helped my understanding: firstly the bubble vibration; secondly the movement of the Hum and thirdly it was identified as coming from the ground. I believe from looking at the evidence above and comparing it with current knowledge of the Earth, that the Hum is probably related to movement of magma below the Earth's crust. We know that the world is made up of a solid iron core, an outer liquid iron core, a mantle, an upper mantle and then a crust. Apart from the core and crust there are convection currents active in all areas of the Earth because of the intense heat. The crust or land is relatively thin compared to the Earth's diameter and for NZ it is up to 25km thick and on the continents excluding high mountains 35-45km.
The city of Auckland is built on a unique and active geological hot spot with many volcanoes all of basaltic origin. Basalt is derived from the mantle and is high in iron with a temperature in excess of 1100 degrees C and flows freely when on the surface. When the crust pressure is released it starts to bubble just as in opening a bottle of coke. Normally this bubbling reaction occurs with an eruption but I suspect that if the crust should crack but not right through, it could cause a sudden release in pressure causing the bubble reaction to occur.
Magma flow would also explain the moving Hum discovered and point to its apparent size and effect for those on the surface. I therefore propose that when there are flows of magma parallel to the crust's surface, it is likely to be large from tens to hundreds of kilometres long but probably relatively narrow. If you could imagine a river of magma pushing its way through stationary magma fields under the crust it is likely to rub and bang against cooler rock setting off vibrations and noise. In contrast to current thinking it is not seen that the underside of the crust as regular and smooth and see reasons for there to be depressions, valleys and holes, some of which have been there for many centuries or eons. The reason for this unevenness is that the crust is made up of lighter elements compared to what is below and this was probably deposited unevenly and then stretched and moved over the eons by plate tectonics, hence it is very unlikely to be regular and smooth.
If the magma flow below the surface was, say, 25km long with a diameter of a few hundred metres, you could expect interesting affects on the surface. Firstly, you would expect there to be some sound or noise and vibrations from its movement, just as river water makes noise as it flows. Sound will travel through solids very well but is deflected or refracted at boundary conditions; in this case the air will change it. But a building will also transmit it by varying amounts depending on its mass and materials. The amount of noise will depend on the depth, speed and volume of the magma, none of which is likely to be constant, which may explain why the Hum has a variety of frequencies and people state different effect levels on them.
For those who have visited geothermal areas you would have been impressed with how a geyser erupts on a daily basis. Some have been named as "old faithful" because they erupt at the same time every day. It is understood that water from the surface travels at a constant speed underground to cause regularity but is that the case in all areas? This regularity may start to point to reasons why people see regular times for the Hum starting and stopping. It doesn't explain why different months, year, decades and so on has different reporting levels of the Hum.
To surmise from the above evidence the Hum has remained unexplained because it is so well hidden and beyond man's present experiences. It is only in the past 30 plus years that vulcanology, geology and plate tectonics have started to unravel what is happening below our feet. I recommend reading "In search of ancient New Zealand" by Hamish Campbell & Gerard Hutching, Penguin 2007 Pg 1-56 for more background on New Zealand geology, but not for anything about the Hum, as geological knowledge is useful as is any other well reasoned knowledge. Unfortunately our present detailed geological knowledge is limited to the surface and a few hundreds of metres below, gleaned from drilling or mining; and of course sound waves and vibrations from earthquakes. We guess at what is below the crust and therefore no one can comprehend why someone would feel vibration or hear sound coming from the ground. Therefore, it is understandable that no one knows how to help sufferers when they report noises and vibrations inside their houses. We just have too little understanding of the interior of the planet.
What is being proposed is quite different to current thinking of magma flows that break through a thin surface to make a volcano. Rather, we are proposing that magma continuously flows under the crust similar to seeing a braided river with its many branches, which appear to mix and then spread apart as they go down the river. It can be visualised as magma rising up and then flowing against the crust for a long distance until it once again falls back down to the core. There may be a number of flows in a geographic area; some may even be close to each other as they twist and turn, to eventually fall back. Each flow has different characteristics and is variable in strength and so the effects on the surface are variable. Contact with gentle flows is possible only when you are in a quieter environment or lying in bed using a larger body surface area to listen with, not usually when walking around, that is, unless it is loud.
When you start to use these concepts new ways of looking at the world start to emerge. It is our current thinking that the Hum may be a major part of the earthquake and land building process that is occurring especially in New Zealand's case. What I mean by this is magma may actually be an active internal force that raises land directly ahead of it, just as the wind pushes a sailboat forward. For example, if the flow of magma under the crust hits a barrier such as a rock wall formed by tectonic plates being pushed down into the Earth's interior, there is likely to be an increase in pressure on the magma side as it pushes upwards in response to the wall as it gets trapped. In the case of the North Island the plate boundary is eastward of the North Island land mass and the Hum sound (magma) comes from the West, therefore upward pressures could occur against the crust wall for the North Island. While there's admittedly little or no supporting writings I am aware of, there is still well proven physics to support the idea where flows occur. Current geological knowledge correctly promotes the idea of the North Island being raised by the scrapping off of material as the plate is subducted, but the concept says nothing of the action of magma lifting it up. We have no concept of an active mantle, rather it is seen as being placid and mainly still, moved only by the simple small difference in temperature between the outer surface and the core or mantle.
In support of this idea read the following report from a local NZ newspaper.
July 17, 2009: "The sound came first like a large bus parked right outside her hotel room with its diesel engine running. As we were staying in the Luxmore Hotel, one of Te Anau's largest, I assumed that's what it was. I wanted to open the window and scream out, turn that bloody engine off its after nine o'clock and we can't hear the TV. Then the sound morphed into the deep rumbling roar of an approaching train. I looked down and the bed was moving... then I realized it was an earthquake."
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Fiordland.
The Hum is commonly described as a diesel sound and it is intriguing that this person described the initial portion of the earthquake in these terms. She may have been, unwittingly, one of those few that hear the Hum, but the comment makes it very insightful. To hear the Hum precede an earthquake suggests that magma was flowing rapidly and may have caused the quake, or, due to a change in the structure of the crust the flow was suddenly modified. Either way, there would seem to be a connection with the manifestation of the Hum sound and a movement of the Earth's crust in an earthquake.
Now with this concept adequately described it leads me onto earthquakes and plate tectonics. Firstly, lets put an element of size into our view of the Earth.
What does an Ant think when standing on the bonnet of a revving car engine? Is this fear they feel when there legs and body shake from the rhythmical noise generated by unseen explosions, and the whirr of tappets and timing chains? Is the hot bonnet's surface about to change or collapse because of the vibration and heat and unseen forces. The Ant will never know without using an array of microphones and motion sensors to analyse any theories he may have on it. It is proposed planet Earth will be much easier to understand when we start to listen more intently to it.
7.1 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Christchurch New Zealand
(4th September 2010).
The Christchurch earthquake happened six days ago at the time of writing and has caused widespread damage. It occurred on a previously unidentified fault line not related to the Southern Alp fault. It has already been suggested that there were two earthquakes seconds apart, which makes it sound much worse and means it was unusual. The reason this quake attracted my attention was firstly the time it struck at 4.36am on a Saturday morning as this is a very common start to the Hum in NZ. And secondly the fault line was described by one geologist, as from East to West with a variable width up to 3 km wide. We have two possible components to the Hum one of time and the other from westerly direction. For now I realize time nor direction proves little as quakes can occur anytime and anywhere, but for the time being I want to tease out this concept and consider it in terms of magma flow.
A sudden powerful up-rising of magma possibly with two magma heads could be expected to place pressure on the crust as it thrusts upwards resulting in impact damage to the crust, which we see as a fault line. If correct the resulting scar over 30+ km in length would seem to be large, which from the Ant's position is a major change, but from the greater NZ or Australasia perspective is very small indeed. Therefore the surface damage observed could also be related to magma flow, as it is also quite discreet rather than the larger movement of the crust as typically identified by plate tectonics. Christchurch was considered a very inactive earthquake area prior to this event but evidence was found to a previous quake in 1830 prior to Europeans main establishment.
By example one report received at the time of the quake was unusual and not related to simple tearing and dislocation of the crust similar to tearing of a piece of paper.
"Hi. I am 65 years old. I have been driving for 50 years.
I was driving into Christchurch on the morning of the quake. I was placed on the motorway at the point where the road divides into two, and I southbound, towards Christchurch. Speed exactly 100kms. One car behind me by about 500 metres, and a large truck about 1 mile behind. No one else around.
I observe silly things, for example, on the way out of town, I observed a vehicle heading west along the north shore of the Waimak, below the bridge, the vehicle had its hazard lights flashing. Time 4.21 am.
4.35am. The sky lit up with an incredible lighting display. I knew it was an aurora. I know what causes an aurora. Radiation interacting with the magnetic field of the planet.
To my left, east, the flashing dark green to light green as it moved away from me. To my right, west, light blues to dark blue. The display was 'sheeting'. I have seen auroras on TV, and that is what it was. This was not lightning.
My car clock clicked over 4.36am, just seconds into the aurora, and the car lurched and tipped and shuddered. The force was enough to have tipped my car over, but due to experience I managed to steer into the shudders. The lights of the motorway were still on. 'Rivulets', or riggles, were flashing towards me from the southwest, like a giant spider web, or 'radials', and the motorway was drifting from side to side. I would guess that the centre of the spider web would have been around Springfield. Two 'rivulets' flashed passed me on either side, straight into Kaiapoi which was on my immediate left, east. The lighting display suddenly became incredibly intense, and was not 'in the distance', it was all around me. Then with the violent shuddering of the car, there was a HUGE flash of brilliant white light, and the display vanished, and the whole city sank into blackness. It was gone. No light anywhere. The driver behind me must have stopped because I didn't notice him again.
My first impression was that there had been an atomic explosion. I believe that the aurora was caused by intense radiation, hence my instinctive belief that the city had been subject to some kind of atomic explosion.
I was careful to check each bridge for telltale cracks, but they seemed at a rapid glance to be OK. When I drove over the Chaney's Overbridge it was not damaged. The lane under the bridge was not in the range of my headlights. But the motorway on both sides of the overbridge was dead flat at that time. The damage to the area must have occurred AFTER the initial shock.
The first lights I saw were at Countdown in Northlands, and it occurred to me they would have a generation backup system. Lights on the west side of Papanui Road flickered here and there, but Merivale was in darkness. I usually stop at Paul's coffee shop, and I paused there to check he was OK, but his blind was down, so I assumed he was not at work yet.
And further (recapitulation):
The light display appeared first, then maybe a second later I felt the car jolt. My car was kicked to my left, as if the front right wheel had been hit, then the next bump was the other way.
The lighting moved away from me, or appeared to move away, to the southwest. As the colours changed they moved away, or, as they moved away the colours changed. Greens on my left, east, blues on my right, west. The brilliant white light was directly over the city. The range of the light extended right out to sea, east, into the whole distance I could see. I was 'inside' the light. [and it was hugging the ground, about car height].
I am not initiated to say, but I suspect we might eventually find that the greatest shock of the earthquake was actually out to sea. Is it possible to check for huge cracks in the seabed?
The spider web effect was the movement of the earth itself. If you could imagine a flat concertina. The radials [= rivulets, earlier] advanced across the road in front of me, from southwest to northeast, and they moved as fast as I could take in the spectacle. The radials were not uniform in that I saw some which appeared to be behind/ahead of others. Each radial, and I am trying to be helpful, was each, ker-bump, and a ker-bump, with me travelling south at 100kms per hour. On each side of each radial, the road moved in opposite directions, like a push-pull effect. As I passed over each radial, the car lurched the other way. Each radial looked strangely like the pictures of gophers burrowing along, where they leave a little upraised trail. But there were no open cracks as appeared later. I would guess that the motorway was swaying inside a channel of about one metre overall in the distance I could see. The lights of the motorway were still on until the last tremor. The lights of the city vanished basically simultaneously with the aurora.
If the earthquake was somewhat 'selective' in its destruction, I am guessing that anything directly over each radial got a hell of a hiding, but in between the radials, much less destructive." Neil Whitehead report ( Research Papers).
This determined driver's experience is insightful for a number of reasons. The time it took for him to travel approximately 18 seconds was 500m this being the length of the quake and that was taking him directly through Kaiapoi, which is directly on his left. The aurora was seen first before any forces were felt showing that a radiation was emanating from the ground up and high into the night air. The expected ground motion occurred next and was sufficient to cause him concern while driving. It must have been awkward to drive over moving humps of ground as the waves went out. It is possible he experienced amplitude modification from two impact waves from the two quakes, which caused the apparent waves being before, and some after. The city he was referring to is Christchurch as other reports from different vantage points showed that Christchurch also was brilliantly white as though it had been hit by an atomic bomb. Chaney's bridge is about 5.5km after the first aurora was seen and still is not within Christchurch city. He incorrectly states the centre of the quake was in Springfield rather than Darfield but this may have been more accurate for the aurora. Of interest was his concern for the seabed as the aurora went further than the land.
These described lighting effects are not generally associated with earthquakes. Normally a quake is viewed as a neat break in the crust just like tearing a piece of paper apart. There may be some electrical effects from rocks rubbing against each other as they slide past one another but the described effects were before ground movements and very large, suggesting quite different actions or forces. A magma flow is such a force that could be large enough as it probably possesses electrical or magnetic actions. At present I have no evidence to show the Hum sound was active at the time of the quake. The second more damaging earthquake which destroyed the city produced uplift of considerable force and was measure at M6.3, the largest vertical impact force ever measured in a built up area. One can easily visualise how a large uplift could be caused by a magma thrust hitting the crust, as if it were a big fist.
The following is one man's experiences in Christchurch.
"I live in the Heathcote Valley suburb of Christchurch New Zealand ‐ which is close to the epicentre of many of the larger earthquakes of 2011.
In the past couple of months I have been hearing what is sometimes popularly referred to as an infrasound hum. I have some existing tinnitus but the 'hum' is nothing like the somewhat high pitched (internal) background noise of the inner ear phenomena that I have long ago adapted to having as part of my sonic life. The hum is as much felt (bodily) as heard....and is, as reported in other geographical locations, more audible indoors than out. Due, I suspect to the lower amounts of ambient (masking) sounds indoors.
The perception of the 'idling diesel-like' sub-sonic sound is fairly consistent ‐ night and day ‐ with very occasional cessation. The idling diesel sound raises and lowers in intensity ‐ in a steady predictable rhythm. The noise, as I've stated, is more apparent indoors than out. Earplugs are ineffective as blockers of the sound ‐ as the subsonic frequency is as much felt as heard.
Heathcote Valley has a fairly robust concentration of background, manmade, noise. Consisting of (depending on time of day) motorway truck traffic, coal trains, commuter buses on surface road and a near distant industrial estate. But, even in this smorgasbord of man made noise the so-called 'hum' manages to insinuate and distinguish itself above its fellow sounds.
After extensive investigation and travel (on foot, bicycle and car) and a number of false attributions (cooling tower, compressed air pump for power washer, and diesel braking on motorway) the definite source of the Heathcote Hum cannot be definitely fixed (at least by me) to any single source.
At the onset of the sound phenomenon I considered that it might be particular to me ‐ something internally (physically/psychologically) generated and confined to my own particular perception. However I mentioned it one morning to a close by neighbor (who has not heard the sound) and he indicated that his visiting son had commented that someone was playing amplified/recorded music, and that he was hearing the bass lines from the music.
I think it may yet be possible that what I'm hearing has a 'natural' source, with one likely suspect being waves booming on the somewhat distant Brighton Beach isthmus with only the subsonic portion of their noise being carried (and or amplified) as a decayed (with the bass frequency being the sound's 'remains) tone. A second natural suspect would be rumbling from underground geographic movement connected to fractured hard rock sub-strata. When we have an aftershock the rumbling that precedes the earth's movement has a similar sonic signature. My home is built on a concrete slab and is thus (unlike homes built on wooden piles) atop a resonant manmade 'plate' in direct contact with the ground. The third ‐ but I think least likely ‐ possible generator are the metal corrugations of my home's cladding...creating a sort of low-key Aeolian harp effect when wind blows through the (possibly) resonant cavities of the corrugated steel.
Further ruling out any idea that what I hear is tinnitus-like in its generation and/or psychological/imaginary is the fact that when I am away from this geographical location I do not hear the 'hum' at all.
I will have to admit to not having tried to hear the sound in nearby homes and structures for fear of being taken for a nuisance or a weirdo. I can at times hear the sound outside the rooms of my home when there is little to no ambient noise outside at night.
Sunday mornings when there is little or no motorway traffic, little to no activity in the industrial park and little to no traffic on the surface road at my driveway's edge still does not affect (positively or negatively) the presence or absence of the hum.
On very rare occasions the hum stops altogether. Once for a 2-3 day period....before resuming to steady levels again. The sound's volume level, when present, is steady....but does seem to have a sort of oscillation-like characteristic."
This man had built a new house and lived in it for approximately 6 months before the first earthquake but had no experience of this unpleasant sound during this prior period or in fact any other time while living in Christchurch. This noise then arrived sometime after the quake and as you have read became concerning and debilitating enough for him to consider moving.
The current observations at 2017 are that the Christchurch quakes were quite different from the subsequent Marlborough ‐ Wellington quakes. These quakes were tectonic plate boundary earthquakes as the aftershocks diminished very quickly, whereas the Christchurch aftershocks continued for years. Also talking to locals with a head for timings reported that the big aftershock in Christchurch occurred in a regular pattern just after lunch and just after 10pm. This was most informative and one could point to the concept of the Hum and magma flows in the case of this cities' earthquakes.
Knock Knock..... Who's There?
To give more weight to the idea of magma flows being connected to earthquakes the following map (Figure 2) was shown at a Earthquake Engineering conference. The map was the latest developed in Australia with the objective of updating their building code. What caught my attention was the way earthquakes were more localised in Australia than in NZ. As you may be aware the Australian tectonic plate is much larger than the actual land mass. It is surrounded on two sides by the ring of fire caused by the Pacific plate impacting against it and the other sides sitting against the Indian and Antarctic plates with NZ being cut through by the ring of fire. There are many earthquakes in Australia but there force is much less than felt on the ring of fire. So when you look at a map of all earthquakes you see a scattering over a reasonable portion of the land area. However there are a number of so-called 'hot spots' where there are more frequent quakes even up to magnitude M6.5 but mostly around M4.0. These hotspots tend to be transient in nature and their locations change over time, that is, they move and are not constantly in one spot as with plate tectonics. What caught my attention were the irregular spacing and the big red spot just above the centre of the landmass in the Northern Territories. This spot was large and separate from the ring of fire. Being in the middle of the plate meant there must be some other cause than boundary impacts or sliding movements. We understand that magma movement is seen as an active phenomenon and this long-term study by the Australian scientists could easily be fitted into this theory. Remembering the theory came first and as you see this scientific data could easily support where needed. As is contended if there was an up-welling of magma hitting the crust you would expect to see quake damage in a small localised portion of land as shown here, and by inference the Christchurch quakes could possibly also fit into this type of quake sequence. It should be noted that scientist prefer to exclude connections between any set of quakes and give no reason for any pattern. They just accept that they are there, mapping them and then making no judgements as to a cause. You will understand how easy it is for me to make connection with my analysis and therefore offer the possible cause of earthquake hotspots as magma shafts thrusting upwards impacting the crust.
Figure 2: The 500 year return period Hotspot zone PGA (0.0 s RSA period) hazard map with a 60 km Gaussian spatial filter.
(The 2012 Australian Earthquake Hazard Map. GEOSCIENCE AUSTRALIA RECORD 2012/71, D. R. Burbidge (ed.) (g)-Represents the peak ground accelerations.)
The following map (Figure 3) can be compared with the Australian map where New Zealand is to the East of Australia on the right and extends from -34 to -46. Definite lines can be seen which indicates the edge of the plate boundary of the Australian and Pacific plates.
Figure 3: New Zealand Earthquake Maps
The deep earthquakes >40km colour grading goes from orange, yellow, green, blue to purple where purple is the deepest. Peak Ground Accelerations (g) are not shown but are much higher than in Australia
To move this theory forward the first thing to do is to study the infrasound that we observe around us more closely. Without having this basic information we cannot move to the next step of modulating this sound to improve sleep and learn more about this phenomenon. It will be understood that this process will require a number of people and a considerable amount of time and some money. What I have realised is that I cannot do this work alone and I do not have the electrical skills to pursue it knowledgeable or with safety. I have developed a theoretical concept, and identified an infrasound range to explore, others will need to try and discredit with evidence or add support as the case maybe.
For this research we are considering infrasound impacts on people and the sounds movement. To understand how the flow of magma occurs we will need to set up an array of microphones in a likely active spots such as Auckland, but also eventually over say the Canterbury region, and probably as far as Otago to Marlborough. The microphones need to be placed in relatively quiet areas to listen for the infrasound, with my preferred methodology being a microphone within a hollow concrete four-sided pyramid. The pyramid's cavity will allow the sound to penetrate but exclude external sound sources (See Figure 4's hand sketch). The use of a pyramid shape is important because the infrasound will reflect back and forth and amplify the sound within the block so the microphone can pick it up. The other alternative would be to embed the microphone into the ground and cover again with dirt, but I consider this to be a poor methodology due to a lack of amplification. I recommend the microphones should work from 0 Hz, and would need to operate continuously so that magma movement can be identified between one microphone and another. The microphones would listen for over 12 months so that they could record the fluctuations in the sound at the various sites.
To perform the first test on magma movement, the preferred spot would be in the Auckland area. There are a number of reasons for this such as a large population base, a number of hearers to choose from, two universities to bring assistance from, and it is where I live and have seen the most interesting phenomena. Choosing suitable sites will be based not only on the hearer's location but also whether they form a suitably sized grid pattern. The distance between sites will need to be related to what has been observed when the Hum travels at about 6m/minute. This gives a distance of at least 8 kilometres between sites, which are a days travel time for the phenomena. However some sites may also be related to the interesting effects observed in the past.
Figure 4: Proposed Pyramid shaped amplification chamber
Proposed Auckland Geographic Grid Sites
- Mt Wellington area (extinct volcano)
- Mt Hobson area (extinct volcano)
- Auckland University
- Carrington Institute of Technology
- Te Atatu North
- Caster Bay
- Clea View, Gulf Harbour
It should be noted that some of the hearers that we have been in contact with in the past may not be available to the research, and so we may need to advertise the research to get new people. There is no guarantee that we will get a response as it depends on how important it has become to the population. It may be a period of minimal activity or annoyance and therefore the research could be delayed due to insufficient points on the Grid. Where new hearers are brought into this research there needs to be a vetting system developed to ensure that these people can be relied on. A trusted hearer working for the researcher becomes an essential person for this project ensuring a level of control. Privacy is important with this topic since the publication of names may result in feeling insecure or being ostracised. Some of the most highly trained professional people I have been in contact with in the past would rather not be involved because of this fear. The fear of being labelled that 'you hear things' could be disastrous for someone's career. Fortunately sufferers get quite determined to resolve this problem so I don't expect much resistance initially. They have three choices, suffering sleep deprivation, selling home's or moving houses, or, assist by reporting times and intensities to researchers (before moving house).
The problem is few people hear it, which means the researcher cannot be assumed to hear it. This makes for a very awkward situation because the person with the skills is working deafly and could be expected without assistance to give up quickly. The real problem for the researcher is how could they verify what they are recording is what the sufferer is complaining about? This is unlike most research projects led by the researcher. For this project to start, the sufferer has to be the ears of the researcher. This is likely to cause certain issues depending on the Hearers that are used as most if not all will be untrained. They will cause the researcher a lot of grief as they try to tease out what is being said and what is being shown on the recordings. On top of this, the phenomenon may not actually be operating fully for some time, so the researcher cannot be working full-time. The researcher will have to be a very tolerant type of personality who will not get frustrated with the hearers, as they correlate recordings with the hearers observations.
To get data an appropriate recording system will need to be developed that is consistently filled in by the hearer on a daily basis. This needs commitment from everyone, if we hope to ensure success. Often they will need to record and report in the middle of the night when in bed with no lighting or low lighting. No one really wants to open their eyes at these times let alone get up and write reports. Something like an easy button console that can be done in the dark would help. The type of information required from people could be as follows:
- A time and date stamp.
- Present location.
- The observed starting time.
- Sound level rated from 1 to 10.
- Hum experienced shortly after getting up. Often noticed a few minutes after waking as a result of feeling more relaxed.
- The stopping time.
- Type of effect: i.e.
- Not being able to fall asleep.
- Itchy or tight feet when in bed, or a jumping or twitchy limb when in bed.
- Vibration when felt rated from 1 to 10.
- Temperature change: hot or cold.
- Sound more in one ear.
- Being woken by a dream: i.e.
Heart beat probably raised?
Breathing felt tense from not breathing enough?
Dream related to work or set with colleagues
Dream set in past or future
(A dreamer usually remembers only the last few moments
of a normal dream unless Hum generated.)
The equipment needed in each pyramid (See Figure 5) is firstly a microphone recorder that captures the digital pattern and stores them on a hard disk; a battery that is easily recharged; and an aerial to transmit at regular intervals. The pyramid is expected to be about three quarters of a ton in weight, 1m tall, and will need to be delivered using a small crane on the back of a truck. By using an appropriate jack and lifting point on the side of the pyramid I expect it can be easily tilted on its side to access the microphone and battery.
Figure 5. Recording Equipment and size of Pyramid
The proposed training method is to set up a room or chamber so that each individual is subjected to a range of infrasound frequency using a number of computer generated frequencies as well as past Hum recordings. Because some of this research is subjective, careful training is important. It is my experience that many sufferers miss many aspects because so many new things bombard them. They note the big things and miss subtle things because they haven't carefully listened to what they're experiencing. Just like any form of education the student must be led through a number of experiences until they are fully trained. The study of infrasound frequencies is no different.
We will not be respected if we are not seen as knowledgeable. So we will need to impress upon these people that we are the experts in this topic, and that we have been studying this for many years and they must listen and learn from us. The last thing we want is someone to not listen and ignore a methodology that is going to assist with the research. I found this problem to be annoying when you explain to someone that you have been experiencing it for 20 years and that the cause of this sound is not related to something in the man made environment. Yet they persist in their own thinking and research even when it becomes obvious to everyone that their conclusions are wrong.
In association with these tests I think we need to add in non-hearers experiences, as this will also generate useful information. People suffer from infrasound without knowing what it is, and as I recall from one elderly lady who was interviewed on TV a day or so after the Christchurch earthquake, she was shaking, and considered it either the earthquake or fear that was causing it. I think it more probable it was caused by infrasound vibration.
To conclude the testing will evolve into other studies such as about the brain. The study of the brain is important and I am not qualified to say much more about it. However, by embarking on this infrasound study we may see more of its abilities, much more than what I have written about. Also one thing I have found when researching, is that your first theoretical approach will always need to change because of the facts that develop through testing. Further testing refines this knowledge until you finally achieve your goal. What I've written is very much the first step along this journey but it should be noted I have made the first step and others should follow because to sufferers and myself this is such an obvious effect, just as the Sun rises in the morning or the petrol car makes a noise when you start it. When the public understands, it will collectively shake their heads so as to clear it and wonder how we had missed it for so long.
As you think more of about this research more things get caught in its net. I digress at this point but an observation that requires testing is a concept that the vibration created by the movement of magma might have an effect on genetics. David Attenborough and Darwin noted the diversity of species on the Galapagos Islands when the only route to the island is by air or water via storm or current. What is not obvious is the islands are of volcanic origin with a magma source 60 miles across and reaching to the mantle. When considering this papers finding it would be worth pondering whether infrasound speeds up the process of evolution or diversity of species. Testing of this idea would obviously be time consuming unless some methodology can be found to speed up the period to observe the results in species.
CONCLUSION - One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind.
Evidence has been presented to connect the Hum and infrasound to the movement of magma. It is proposed the Hum sound is the result of this movement under the crust as it rubs against the various surfaces. It is also assumed that the flow of magma varies over time and so the manifestation of the Hum also varies.
A research methodology has been described to enhance our knowledge by recording and correlating peoples experiences of the Hum. Without this type of research being undertaken this subject will remain cloaked in mystery.
This page pulls a diverse range of topics together in a way not considered in the past. Some connections are at the limits of our knowledge but the experiences and research has led in this direction and so they are put forward for consideration. There appears to be logic in these connections and it is the first step towards understanding this obscure phenomenon.
To summarise and remind the reader of the true beginnings we will state them clearly:
- 1. The author is sensitive to sound levels (infrasound) lower than most people.
- 2. The author only started to become aware of this Hum in his early thirties and is well educated.
- 3. The noted experiences have been carefully verified to remove other variables so that clear evidence remains.
- 4. It would have been preferred to not to have been affected by this strange thing we call the Hum. But without many options, and having a need for understanding it and a strong scientific curiosity, has led to these surprising findings.