List of unexplained sounds

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The following is a list of unidentified, or formerly unidentified, sounds. All of the sound files in this article have been sped up by at least a factor of 16 to increase intelligibility by condensing them and raising the frequency from infrasound to a more audible and reproducible range.

NOAA (unidentified)[edit]

The following unidentified sounds have been detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) using its Equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array.


Spectrogram of the Upsweep sound
Spectrogram of the Upsweep sound

Upsweep is an unidentified sound detected on the American NOAA's equatorial autonomous hydrophone arrays. This sound was present when the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory began recording its sound surveillance system, SOSUS, in August 1991. It consists of a long train of narrow-band upsweeping sounds of several seconds in duration each. The source level is high enough to be recorded throughout the Pacific.

The sound appears to be seasonal, generally reaching peaks in spring and autumn, but it is unclear whether this is due to changes in the source or seasonal changes in the propagation environment. The source can be roughly located at 54°S 140°W / 54°S 140°W / -54; -140, between New Zealand and South America. Scientists/researchers of NOAA speculate the sound to be underwater volcanic activity. The Upsweep's level of sound (volume) has been declining since 1991, but it can still be detected on NOAA's equatorial autonomous hydrophone arrays.[1]


Spectrogram of the Whistle sound
Spectrogram of the Whistle sound

This mysterious sound, dubbed the Whistle, was picked up by one NOAA hydrophone in 1997. The location of this sound is unknown, and the source is somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. According to NOAA, the Whistle is similar to volcanogenic sounds previously recorded in the Mariana volcanic arc of the Pacific Ocean, but since it was only recorded on one hydrophone rather than the three required to triangulate a location, it is considered "unidentified".[2]

NOAA (formerly unidentified)[edit]


A spectrogram of Bloop

Bloop is the name given to an ultra-low-frequency and extremely powerful underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1997. The sound is consistent with the noises generated by icequakes in large icebergs, or large icebergs scraping the ocean floor.[3]


The sound's source was roughly triangulated to a remote point in the south Pacific Ocean west of the southern tip of South America, and the sound was detected several times by the Equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array.[3]

According to the NOAA description, it "rises rapidly in frequency over about one minute and was of sufficient amplitude to be heard on multiple sensors, at a range of over 5,000 km (3,100 mi)." The NOAA's Dr. Christopher Fox did not believe its origin was man-made, such as a submarine or bomb, nor familiar geological events such as volcanoes or earthquakes. While the audio profile of Bloop does resemble that of a living creature,[4] the source was a mystery both because it was different from known sounds and because it was several times louder than the loudest recorded animal, the blue whale.[5]

The NOAA Vents Program has attributed Bloop to a large icequake. Numerous icequakes share similar spectrograms with Bloop, as well as the amplitude necessary to spot them despite ranges exceeding 5,000 km (3,100 mi). This was found during the tracking of iceberg A53a as it disintegrated near South Georgia Island in early 2008. If this is indeed the origin of Bloop, the iceberg(s) involved in generating the sound were most likely between Bransfield Straits and the Ross Sea, or possibly at Cape Adare in Antarctica, a well-known source of cryogenic signals.[3]


A spectrogram of "Julia".

Julia is a sound recorded on March 1, 1999, by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA said the source of the sound was most likely a large iceberg that had run aground off Antarctica. It was loud enough to be heard over the entire Equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array, with a duration of about 2 minutes and 43 seconds. Due to the uncertainty of the arrival azimuth, the point of origin could only be narrowed to between Bransfield Straits and Cape Adare.[6]

Slow Down[edit]

The spectrogram of Slow Down

Slow Down is a sound recorded on May 19, 1997, in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The source of the sound was most likely a large iceberg as it became grounded.[7]


The name was given because the sound slowly decreases in frequency over about seven minutes. It was recorded using an autonomous hydrophone array.[8] The sound has been picked up several times each year since 1997.[9] One of the hypotheses on the origin of the sound is moving ice in Antarctica. Sound spectrograms of vibrations caused by friction closely resemble the spectrogram of the Slow Down. This suggests the source of the sound could have been caused by the friction of a large ice sheet moving over land.[9]


Spectrogram of the train sound
Spectrogram of the train sound

The Train is the name given to a sound recorded on March 5, 1997, on the Equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array. The sound rises to a quasi-steady frequency. According to the NOAA, the origin of the sound is most likely generated by a very large iceberg grounded in the Ross Sea, near Cape Adare.[10]


  • Sounds produced by the Northern Colossus of Memnon following an earthquake in 27 BC; the noises made by the statue were probably caused by rising temperatures and the evaporation of dew inside the porous rock of the statue.[11]
  • Unusual noises heard near One World Trade Center, attributed to wind moving through and around the unfinished building. Strange 'wailing' noises were reported during the transit of Hurricane Sandy, while the building was still under construction.[12]
  • Bio-duck, a quacking-like sound produced by the Antarctic minke whale.[13][14]
  • The Ping, described as "acoustic anomalies" whose "sound[s] scare sea animals". It is heard in the Fury and Hecla Strait of northern Canada. It is being investigated by Canadian military authorities.[15]
  • The Forest Grove Sound, a sound heard in Forest Grove, Oregon during February 2016.[16]
  • Moodus noises, strange sounds heard in Moodus, Connecticut, later attributed to microquakes.


  • The Hum
  • Mistpouffers or skyquakes, a phenomenon generally occurring near large bodies of water. Sound has been compared to distant cannonfire or thunder.
  • Havana syndrome, grating noises of unknown origin purportedly heard by United States and Canadian embassy staff in Havana, Cuba.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Upsweep". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  2. ^ "Whistle". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  3. ^ a b c "Acoustics Monitoring Program - Icequakes (Bloop)". Pacific Marine Environment Laboratory. Retrieved 2012-11-17.
  4. ^ Wolman, David (2002-06-15). "Calls from the deep". New Scientist. Archived from the original on 2013-01-06. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  5. ^ "Animal Records". Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Archived from the original on 2010-03-05. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
  6. ^ "Acoustics Monitoring Program". 1999-03-01. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
  7. ^ NOAA Cryogenic "Slow Down"
  8. ^ NOAA page
  9. ^ a b David Wolman (15 June 2002). "Calls from the deep". New Scientist. p. 35. Archived from the original on 6 January 2013.
  10. ^ "Iceberg Grounding (Train)". NOAA. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  11. ^ Lord Curzon (1923). The Voice of Mnemon - Tales of Travel.
  12. ^ One World Trade Center Makes Strange, Ghostly Sounds In Lower Manhattan (VIDEOS), Huffington Post
  13. ^ Risch, D.; Gales, N. J.; Gedamke, J.; Kindermann, L.; Nowacek, D. P.; Read, A. J.; Siebert, U.; Van Opzeeland, I. C.; Van Parijs, S. M.; Friedlaender, A. S. (2014). "Mysterious bio-duck sound attributed to the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis)". Biology Letters. 10 (4): 20140175. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2014.0175. PMC 4013705. PMID 24759372.
  14. ^ Rob McCauley; John Bannister; Chris Burton; Curt Jenner; Susan Rennie; Chandra Salgado Kent (October 2004). Western Australian Exercise Area Blue Whale Project, Final Summary Report, Milestone 6 (PDF) (Report). Australian Defence. Retrieved 2012-06-26. A signal type widely heard by Navy submariners and known as the bioduck is common in the [Perth] Canyon during late July-Dec [1999-2004]. The seasonal timing of the bioduck is similar to other great whales which migrate up from Antarctic waters.
  15. ^ Canadian military investigating mysterious 'ping' sound scaring sea animals
  16. ^ Cook, Katherine (25 February 2016). "Forest Grove Neighbors Mystified by Annoying Noise". KGW. Retrieved 5 January 2017.