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Modern Mysteries

Scientist solves mystery of the Plymouth hum

By T.K. Randall
November 30, 2015 · Comment icon 16 comments

Plymouth is situated on the south coast of England. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Derek Harper
A mysterious humming noise that has been driving residents round the bend may be coming from the sea.
Possible explanations for the low-pitched din, which has been plaguing the area for years, have included everything from wind turbines and power lines to extraterrestrial visitation, but now a scientist from France believes that he may have finally found the answer.

Fabrice Ardhuin, a senior research scientist at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, maintains that the noise is caused by the pressure of ocean waves vibrating on the sea floor.

Its low frequency means that only a small percentage of people can actually hear it at all - a factor that has contributed extensively to the difficulties experienced in tracking down its source.
The first time it was reported was all the way back in the 1970s and it is still heard even to this day.

"I have heard it several times over the last few weeks and then on Monday and Tuesday this week," said Plymouth resident Pat Finnie. "You begin to wonder whether it's you, your ears, but my husband said he could hear it too, and he doesn't usually notice it."

Even if Ardhuin's explanation of the phenomenon is correct however it may be of little consolation as there is nothing that can stop the sounds of the ocean waves save for a good pair of ear plugs.

Source: Plymouth Herald | Comments (16)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by Rolci 8 years ago
So this scientist is trying to tell me that the ocean is exerting pressure on the ocean floor in only a handful of places on the whole planet?
Comment icon #8 Posted by lightly 8 years ago
i suppose it might have something to do with the slant of the seabed?? ... that is, How the water is Squeezed as it's coming toward shore? That would create the specific "pressure" the scientist is talking about?
Comment icon #9 Posted by MissJatti 8 years ago
What about the people who live inland?
Comment icon #10 Posted by AustinHinton 8 years ago
The sea is just full of strange sounds, isn't it? First the Bloop, then these hums.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 8 years ago
Only those with the "Innsmouth Look" can hear these underwater low tones.... We shall swim out to that brooding reef in the sea and dive down through black abysses to Cyclopean and many-columned Y'ha-nthlei, and in that lair of the Deep Ones we shall dwell amidst wonder and glory for ever.
Comment icon #12 Posted by lightly 8 years ago
low frequencies do travel through mediums much easier and farther than higher frequencies?
Comment icon #13 Posted by Codenwarra 8 years ago
More years ago than I care to think about, I was waiting for a chartered plane at the airstrip of the tiny mining town of Collinsville. it was around noon and the safety officer had driven me out from the mine with my equipment and was waiting to assist with loading the plane. It was about as quiet as the bush ever gets, which is pretty quiet. We chatted about this and that. There was a faint breeze, you would have to think about it to feel it. I could hear a faint whistling, or maybe howling, quite low pitched. He said he could not hear it. It seemed to be coming from the left and I got up to... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by badeskov 8 years ago
low frequencies do travel through mediums much easier and farther than higher frequencies? Depends on the medium. Cheers, Badeskov
Comment icon #15 Posted by RabidMongoose 8 years ago
A mysterious humming noise that has been driving residents round the bend may be coming from the sea. Read More: http://www.unexplain...he-plymouth-hum I have the hum too especially at night. Unless I unplug my fridge
Comment icon #16 Posted by badeskov 8 years ago
There is a tradition in Denmark, that when a building is built, when the walls are erected and the structure for the roof is in place, you hold a party (rejsegilde) for all the construction workers. There is a lot of superstitions in this, for instance you take a glass, ask that the house last as many years as this glass will shatter into and then you throw it against a well. However, if you do not hold this party, you could be in a bad position. One tradition is to put an empty bottle into the chimney as part of the construction, so when the when is blowing you will have a horrible howling so... [More]

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