Posted by: patriciaormsby | April 6, 2013

Acoustic Phenomena of the Upper Atmosphere: Did the Sky Just Roar?

A couple of days ago I heard a familiar, but mysterious booming I’d not encountered in a while.  Called “yamanari” (literally, “mountain roaring”) among Japanese mountaineers, it is an irregular deep booming sound, reminiscent of distant artillery.  I first heard it about 23 years ago in the mountains near Tokyo, and that timing is significant for reasons I’ll explain below. It is inaudible in cities, drowned out by the hubbub.  A wizard living atop Tokyo’s tallest peak (Kumotori, now highly radioactive, so thank goodness he had moved on) explained it as signaling the approach of a storm.


This was before the Net, and any respectable library in Japan had closed stacks, meaning you had to tell the librarian the title and author and wait while she got it for you; no browsing.  So the best I could do was guess at the cause. From my flying I knew a lot about orogenic waves, i.e., stationary atmospheric waves that form over mountains in a wind, a lot like rapids in a stream. These shift as the wind changes, so I guessed the shifting was the cause.  Probably in the ball park.


Yesterday, the Net turned up nothing about “yamanari,” except some guy’s Net name, but further searches brought up something called “acoustic gravity waves in the upper atmosphere,” and evidence suggesting they were related to earthquakes and auroras as well as violent storms.  Sound waves form in the upper atmosphere and interact with the ionosphere. Wherever there is a boundary with distinct changes, such as mesosphere to ionosphere, any perturbance of that boundary can cause moving waves driven by gravity, like a pebble cast into a pond.


Apparently, such disturbances were heard worldwide in the months following the March 11 earthquake, in places without mountains, and experienced more as a hum than a booming.


Because most of the sound is below the audible spectrum, i.e., very low frequency, what we hear is just the tip of the iceberg.  This seems to sparked further scientific interest in the phenomenon, but it still remains a mystery.  They’ve been reported in connection with atomic testing and earthquakes , severe convective storms (i.e., thunderstorms), auroral activity, solar eclipse, volcanic eruptions, and “the passage of the solar terminator” .  (The latter apparently means “twilight.”)


I think it could be expected as well with HAARP, but I cannot speculate as to the degree. What I can say is that the reason they were as clearly audible and frequent as they were 23 years ago, with no obvious connection to storms, was probably that we were approaching solar maximum.


When I heard the booming two days ago, it was distinct enough to be heard indoors, and it was followed by a minor storm.  At the same time, however, Japan’s weather agency began predicting a major storm due to a low pressure system approaching from China.  This one has all the power of a typhoon, with severe rain and wind forecasted for later today. I would expect the sounds we heard to be related to this larger storm.


I am conservative in my assessment of these things.  Spring storms have been getting bigger each year, and several have seemed like typhoons in recent years, but this is the first time the weather service has warned of hurricane force winds and rains in conjunction with a storm of mid-latitude origin.  Would any of you want to comment on why the powers-that-be might want to augment a storm heading to Japan right now?Image


  1. Very interesting information Patricia, thank you.

    I cannot begin to postulate what might motivate the Power Daddies at this time—I just can’t relate to them.

    It is interesting that you have totally dismissed thunder…I suppose because of the lack of the lighting aspect. Distant thunder sounds a lot like distant artillery to me. But you must have a reason for distinguishing the two.

    Having spent a great deal of time as a sound recordest, and being involved with synthesizers for a long time, I have come to the conclusion that any sound that can be made using synthesis is possible in nature as well.
    A low ceiling to the atmosphere in a valley or canyons can create unusual sound reflections, for example…
    In the Superstition Mountains, you can here someone whisper a mile away in certain canyons.

    In the huge drain tunnels of LA [the LA River, they call it] I have heard the weirdest noises…strange “pinging” which is reflections of partial sonic waves fractured into ‘echoettes’ by the tubular structure and curves and links in the system.

    Of course there are all sorts of echoes created by natural echo chambers, tile bathrooms — which gave us the idea to make purposeful echo chambers for recording purposes — actual physical spaces, then the ‘spring echo’ and the tape-loop ‘Echoplex’ of Les Paul, and all the way to the present digital world of sound with software such as ‘Acoustic Mirror’, that ‘model’ spaces rather than produce sound….


    • I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      The first time I heard yamanari, I actually thought it was artillery, because Japan holds artillery practice regularly at the foot of Mt. Fuji, and we hear it when we hike in that area, but it is very regular. They fire a round, and several seconds later it impacts. Needless to say, when I was aware of yamanari, there were no clouds, and the synoptic conditions precluded instability–typically mid-morning, as was the case a few days ago. Thunderstorms are relatively rare here, but we get them on summer afternoons/evenings and occasionally accompanying cold fronts. They are forecasted with the storm upon us now, but I haven’t heard any so far.

      I love thunder in our valley! Actually it is a plateau about 20 km in diameter, formed from basaltic flows from Mt. Fuji, ringed on three sides with mountains. Thunder echoes repeatedly in this space, rolling and booming off each peak.

      Yamanari seems to come from no particular direction, and it continues for hours.

      Actually, I found out, right after posting this, that there had been a major, very deep earthquake (560 km down) right near the border of Russia, North Korea and China within the same 24-hour period I was hearing the yamanari. I don’t know if that might have had a connection or not. It is all mysterious to me.

  2. Hi Patricia… anyone that has heard thunder (and who hasn’t?) and has heard that rumbling you speak of knows the differene between the two. I live in rural southern NJ and just in the past couple of years I have heard booms and rumbles that I had never heard in my life before and I’ve lived in this area since 1976.

    I did two articles for COTO on Strange Sounds and one or both have consistently shown up in the top three posts since I wrote the first over two years ago. I’m not bragging. They are clicked because people all over the world are hearing these rumbles, hums, booms and trumpet like sounds and have felt the earth vibrate beneath their feet. These are not natural occurring sounds since so many of the people that have left comments and made videos of such, state they don’t know what they are and are frightened by them. Yea, some pets and humans hide under the bed during a storm but i’ve found with these new phenomena, people are curious and freaked out by them at the same time. That’s just the sound factor. We now have humongous sink holes opening up all over the globe as well. Something new and unusual is certainly going on.

    The cause of these “new” strange sounds would depend largely on where you live. Some point to the building of DUMBS, others HAARP, still others the pole shift, fracking or UFOS. Take your pick?

    It could be any or all of the above since the military has been fooling around with weather mod and blasting out those underground tunnels for decades. Without a doubt, they steer storms and create eathrquakes. Or perhaps poor ole Mother Earth has had enough of our tampering and is letting us know that in no uncertain terms?

    PS: hope your approaching storm is milder than expected.

    I just found this youtube… This is NJ but well north of me. I’ve heard this sound as well that I attribute to emfs but who knows? sounds like sounds from deep space doesn’t it?..

    • Thank you for the link, Deb! I saw your articles, but didn’t put two and two together until now because the sounds are described differently in different places, but I understand the acoustics would vary depending on a lot of factors, such as those William mentioned above. I have always thought the mountains were the biggest factor in our ability to hear it as frequently as we do in Japan. We are also on the ring of fire. So is New Zealand, which is also similar in latitude and several other features, but I have not heard of any similar phenomenon there–maybe because I haven’t been looking.

      • Here is something you would be interested in Patricia,
        If you haven’t already heard this, it has some clues for those in Japan…and all of us eventually…

        David L. Smith of joins us for our monthly discussion on economics, finance and politics. This month we cover the Cyprus bail-ins, the latest developments in the Bank of Japan’s quantitative easing plans, and the latest on the Swiss citizen initiative to account for the country’s gold.


        • No, I hadn’t heard the latest, snazziest! Thanks for the link. I don’t think the Japanese media want to report these figures. They are a lot worse than I thought. And I think we always knew that Japan was going to be the domino to take the rest down. I don’t think a little old typhooney thing or even a little old temblor or even another good old fashioned Fukushima could create the devastation that this will. I plump for Mother Nature being the cause of the latest sounding, or at most, reverberations from the big HAARP job two years ago.

          The times are upon us for which I got my husband to take up farming. That might not save our sorry asses, but we tried. “Who you know” will probably trump “what you know,” as always, but having some skills will trump being utterly clueless–cannon fodder, Future Slaves of America.

  3. This IS my area>>>

    • Wow, what a haunting sound! And really powerful if people felt like their homes were being shaken. It definitely had the irregularity of what we heard here, but more of a ghastly howling–very odd. Yes, I can see why people are calling it the sound of the apocalypse. What fearsome times these are. Ope! Here comes our thunderstorm. Better log off for now!

  4. Take care Patricia ! Please report back on the other side of the storm ….

    Btw, lovely picture of the mountain🙂

    • Bar-code Fuji! LOL We will have strong winds all day, but we seem to have come through the storm okay. Thank you for the Fulford link. I also remember the possibility of an earthquake in Japan was being tossed around by COTO just prior to the big one in March 2011. That impressed me.

      The video of daytime-visible auroras just before the China earthquake is impressive too. This is all being tied together so neatly–severe ionospheric anomalies, with auroras and acoustic waves, together with geomagnetic effects and seismic events.

      A billion watts is a lot of energy. They are just pulsing it, not sustaining it, in the information I’ve seen. It would be impossible to sustain. But it’s like banging on a gong, with the repercussions.

      I did some snooping on the topic of deep earthquakes. There was a big earthquake at the Russian-North Korean-China border, just across the sea of Japan from us, at a depth of about 560 km. That is in the transition zone from the upper to lower mantle. Normally, the mantle at that depth would be too plastic to have any seismic activity, but they say at the subduction zones, it can happen because cooler material is being brought down, resulting in more rigidity. From the location, it would appear to be directly related to the Japanese earthquake two years ago.

      Even though there were no casualties in the sparsely populated area (about 15 years ago, I heard the three countries were planning a free-trade-zone community there, but have not heard anything about that since then), it still surprises me that the Japanese media never mentioned the earthquake, because it is of scientific significance, and people here are following this with great interest.

      Here is a link at RT: In the comments, everyone is saying “HAARP.” It could have been Russia’s or China’s. Everyone has a HAARP now. I note that it happened more than one day after I heard the yamanari, and there was an aftershock yesterday as well.

    • That sinkhole looks machine made to me…

      Hmmm…very weird.


    • There is this rash of sinkholes worldwide. I wonder if it could be explained by destabilization due to all the ionospheric activity shaking things up. Poor guy in bed disappeared into a sinkhole! People saying the booming sound is from below.

  5. Louisiana’s sinkhole worsens…this does not bode well for the states along the New Madrid fault line either.

  6. where is the love …

    • Last I heard of Love was 1966 with their, ‘Signed D.C.’ and ‘My Little Red Book’…


    • Abe is playing with matches. Young feller from my perspective. But the Japanese voted for him and he’s doing what they want him to do, because Japan is up against the wall now. The prolonged stagnation is leading them nowhere. Most kids I know (I’m defining people in their thirties as kids, mind you) are living at home and have no prospects for marriage. They don’t seem to realize just how good they have it, though, compared to most of the world. They are in for a rude awakening very soon, I’m afraid.

      • banks create an illusion of balance by devaluation of the unit of measure, while impoverishing those which much later, or if ever, recieve forsaid unit. The excuse of course is; ‘it will increase exports and create jobs in the economy’, BS!. Just like the enviroment the same strategy applies to all fronts; create a crisis for directing for the herd.

  7. \\][//

  8. electrostatic or quasistatic fields playinf havoc on the lower ionosphere? I think it’s the cause. Seismic events could create those VLF waves as well but I think you would have had some info for those earthquakes. If none were reported I’d say HAARP and EISCAT systems are active and weve seen the strange weather here. If there are extremely high thunderclouds but you saw no upper level lightning that would also make me believe it was ionopheric heating and lower level

    In geophysics, they are called acoustic-gravity waves; they are formed in the upper atmosphere caused by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes but without the magnetic storm, thundercouds or seismic event, my bet is lower level ionoshperic heating, resulting in infrared and LF waves, hence the roaring sound.

    Here in NC we had a snowstorm with roaring thunder but no electrical or electron lightning. I believe they were heating the upper level and steering the storm through the central states and not letting it move north. While it snowed here NJ and NY were getting 45 and 50 degree weather. Too strange!

    • Given the timing of the earthquake after the yamanari, and the coincidence with the rise of the present storm, and the fact that there was very little lightning involved with it, I’d say you are probably right, Patrick.

      • Asteroids make sonic booms on entering the atmosphere. The wife had one hit close to her car about a month or so ago when Russia was getting it heavy. It hit the pavement and disintegrated.
        Otherwise it might be the grays in their intergallactic hot rods burning out.

  9. Well…t’last!!

    It finally sprung…that spring did…a beautiful warm day here. T-shirt and shorts kinda day. And it hasn’t gotten cold yet this evening.

    I was REEEEEEEEEAAALLY sick of the winter cold and frozen…I hope there are no “cold-snaps”. The Bradford Pear trees are budding across the street.

    Spring On!


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