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Mysterious 'ping' sound from sea floor baffles Igloolik | Hacker News

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Tags: clathrate-gun-hypothesis unlocateable-sounds
Clipped on: 2016-11-06

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Mysterious 'ping' sound from sea floor baffles Igloolik (
129 points by thom 1 day ago | flag | hide | past | web | 76 comments | favorite

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Mysterious, unlocateable sounds have always fascinated me. Right now I was just looking for that impossible to triangulate low frequency vibration that plagued that one town i can't remember, but then I typed "mysterious sound" into YT and found out about this world wide event [1] [2] that occurred this year Jan 9-14 and nobody was able to explain it



There's going to be a whole lot more of these mysterious sounds because of climate change. Nobody knows what it sounds like when the permafrost starts to thaw and methane starts to bubble out of it. Russia's already seeing some very strange geological effects:

This ping could be methane ice under the ocean melting, a sound akin to the cracking of ice cubes in water:

I sure as fuck hope not. Melting clathrates would be an unimaginable disaster for the climate.

Like it or not but we're already well into the "unimaginable disaster" phase for climate change.

The biggest group of climate change denialists are those scientists that insist we can cap things at 2°, which at this point is about the same as thinking that Santa is real.

I'm not a climate change denialist, but I am a climate change optimist. I think it would be possible to cap things off at two degrees, but we would have to start sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere and doing something with it (like big tanks or put it underground as dry ice, etc). Anyone that thinks we can stop this by producing less CO2 is deluded. We're well beyond the "unmitigated disaster for our current environment" ppm level. If we can't fix this, at least life will evolve and move on after we and many other species go extinct due to human activity.

I have suspicions that most world leaders are aware of the work done on the various geo-engineering mitigation strategies and are willing to risk it.

Such a terrible prospect to consider but that hasn't stopped scientists and engineers planning for the worst. An ill-conceived quick fix scares me, yet seems to be more likely than global agreement to reduce emissions in the fractured world of international politics.

Actually, what is not appearing in those calculations, that the ability to react with technology might shrink due to the costs added by the migrations out of parts of the earth that become uninhabitable.

The problem with this is funding. If one country took it upon itself to save the planet they pay a huge price and everyone benefits, so there's no incentive to do it.

It's only when things get so bad there's no option but to do it, by which it's probably too late, when everyone might decide to fuck it and go solo instead of waiting for consensus.

At least US emissions are down 20% from the 90s, we would have beat our Kyoto obligations.

Maybe now that the oceans are set to die, scientists will dump CO2 eating algae into it?

Relevant to watch. Before the Flood - Full Movie | National Geographic [1]

True, but don't forget that large scale events also would occur without human intervention. It cant be denied that our actions are the cause for a lot of changes, but a volcano or an earthquake are just natural occurences. We live on a big ball of mud.

Shit happens, but the shit that's happening right now is our own doing.

A significant element of the present era is that several distinct existential risks humans face are either self-imposed or self-inflicted.

Climate change, overpopulation, mass extinction, resource exhaustion, the threats of nuclear war and winter, self-imposed mass epidemic (particularly biowarfare), long-term chronic pollution (especially lead, mercury, and dioxins), ozone layer, mutagens, genetic drift.

Others aren't directly imposed but are self-inflicted: systemic global supply-chain collapse risk, global financial system collapse risk, creating potential breeding grounds and vectors for global pandemics, etc.

The risk of exogenous events -- supervolcanos, asteroid impacts, solar storms, nearby supernovae -- aren't affected by human activities. But in the case of endogenous events, we're directly affecting the probabilities.

The craters in the Russian permafrost are a fascinating phenomenon but the explanation that they would be caused by methane is only a theory, nobody knows for sure yet where they are coming from.

The ones in the first vid are most likely fake. There's videos on YT how to create them as well. Not to mention that "it happens every morning at 6am, sometimes in the evening" sounds a very suspiciously like someone mistaking something they can't identify as something noone can identify.

yeah I don't know what to think of it. A search turns up a lot of news articles, all posted within that time range, and it doesn't look like a fake at second glance. But who knows.

I am definitely not opposed to the idea of things we don't understand going on out there, not at all. The thought of it excites me as much as the next guy.

It's really just this specific type of video I am very skeptical towards. Here's a German video about creating these, with timestamp to a demonstration of the result:

Considering how little effort the guy put into this (take trombone sound, add reverb, slow down and overlay with badly recorded video) I think it's safe to say that the majority of those videos are fake.

For the news reports, it wouldn't surprise me if they used these fake videos as their "sources". Especially when they're tagged as happening in a specific area I can imagine a local news station picking it up, then being further sourced by others.

As for the phenomenon itself, maybe there's some truth to it, which I would agree to be super exciting, much like the like the article in the OP.

Good point. The influence of social media really can't be understated, trolling is really easy today. Especially if you build upon other material or facts that support your claim (I guess that's what happened here)

Absolutely fascinating, and slightly terrifying! I've heard a sound like this in Portland, OR several times over the past couple years, on the second occurrence my neighbor managed to get a video of it [1].

It sounded like absolutely nothing I've heard in my life, like a giant didgeridoo but so powerful you could feel the vibration in your chest. Many others in my neighborhood heard it too, as referenced by this Reddit thread [2].

Have thought about it for a long time and no explanation makes sense, I still get shivers listening to the youtube video; Play it plugged into a sound system for full effect!

1. 2.

I am surprised nobody explicitely told you they are fake yet. The time this videos became popular many people cross referenced the sounds with movies. I dont remember which movie tho, but google deeper :)

Yeah it's definitely just a troll, looks like a whole scheme that works well because there really are many unexplained sounds and vibrations caused by e.g. heavy industry or geological events.

It's surprisingly hard to separate the fakes from the real stuff these days and the trolls exploit that to optimize the effect.

Winsdor, Ontario is the town you are thinking of.

There's another referenced in the article, too.

You mean the Taos hum?

Almost, I was thinking of the Windsor hum. Thanks!

More interesting sources in case anyone is interested:





Well, there go the methane clathrate deposits.

It was nice knowing y'all.

Explanation for anyone who doesn't know what the parent is referring to:

Eventually some spacefaring civilization will visit this system, note that the second and third planet are very similar and almost skip further exploration... But when they do, they'll be shocked to find out that one of the planets is a naturally developed hothouse hell while the other was turned that way by hapless inhabitants.

After we figure out how to increase the mass of our atmosphere 90-fold, maybe. Venus is around human body temperature at the altitude where atmospheric pressure is similar to Earth's.

The most Earth-like environment on the Solar System (other than Earth, of course), ~50km high in Venus[0] :)

And to think that humans could've gone there... [1]

(mainly I refer to the Apollo Applications and TMK-MAVR, I'm skeptical about Inspiration Mars)



Iirc, the second-most human-like is Saturn, where there are zones of warm air at around 10atms, which is manageable for humans. Not as radioactive as Jupiter, but you can't float a zepplin in pure Hydrogen. Also, the wind speed would obliterate any aircraft.

You can. Just you need to go the route of a vacuum airship instead. Or go for a hot helium balloon.

While admittedly science fiction, The Clouds of Saturn by Michael McCollum explores this a bit.

Now I want to build a hot hydrogen balloon. Put some drone motors and rotors on it from control. Then one day land it near an open flame.

A chemistry professor that I was acquainted with did this as one of his lecture demonstrations. Shakhashiri (and he's still doing it - Once Upon a Christmas Cheery, In the Lab of Shakhashiri is going on its 47th year!). has what you are looking for (at 3:42 though you'll likely want to start a tad bit earlier).

Well, on Saturn thered be no oxygen to combust, so hot hydrogen could work, maybe (I'm suspicious that it would be able to lift the heat source much less the equipment). Hard part would be fuel to heat it.

I love this comment :-D

Is there any reason to connect subsea methane releases to this kind of sound, or any human-audible sound? I was under the impression it gradual dissolution (where "gradual" is not to diminish its geologic speed).

This paragraph somewhere in the middle caught my eye:

„He also says some of his constituents suspect the sound is being generated on purpose by Greenpeace to scare wildlife away from the rich hunting ground. The organization has a tense past with Inuit stemming from its opposition to the seal hunt in the 1970s and 1980s.“

This could as well be some organization's military machine that they're experimenting with. Just like how mysterious objects in the sky could be explained. It's actually the most logical explanation in most of these mysterious cases. This is explained well in the awesome recent documentary "Hypernormalisation". Check it out!

Given the escalation between Russia and the US a sub making the sound wouldn't be the most surprising thing, that is far north Canada...

In that location? That's a very bizarre place for a sub to be.

Why is that bizarre? It looks like a major passage to me. In a nuclear first strike scenario you want your nukes to be right at the front door so hopefully you can take out some silos before they launch. The militaries of the world have no doubt sprinkled hundreds of thousands of sea floor devices around the world since probably the 1950's. Some are probably nuclear powered, long since forgotten about, and will continue to emit for decades. There are fleets of autonomous ocean vehicles that go and gather their data and transmit it to satellites.

Yeah. I'm totally smelling Commie plot right there. :P

or just very sophisticated economic warfare

The news that are more recent:

"Military plane investigates mystery 'ping' near Igloolik Search turns up nothing"

> He said the noise apparently stopped after the military investigated.

So, man-made.

Or coincidence.

Maybe, I guess. But for it to go on so long and stop right as it gets seriously investigated is highly suspicious.

Another explanation is that the people reporting it were lying and stopped their false reports when the investigation was happening to protect their lie.

The bank robbers fled after the cops arrived, so obviously it was an inside job.

What that article doesn't point out for laymen is that the CP-140 is essentially a P-3 Orion: A specialized anti-submarine warfare aircraft equipped with a MAD[1] and sonobuoys[2]. It's a pretty capable maritime surveillance aircraft.

The fact that the signal went dormant/was not able to be detected by something as sophisicated as an Aurora speaks volumes.

1. 2.

what is the effectiveness of a MAD around the poles? There should be a lot of strange magnetic activity around there due to ionizing cosmic rays being redirected there (aurorae) and also you can't drop a sonobuoy under the ice, can you?

> The fact that the signal went dormant/was not able to be detected by something as sophisicated as an Aurora speaks volumes.

I didn't have the impression that the sound was continuously present or that anybody claimed that it was possible to hear it exactly during the "acoustic search for 1.5 hours."

Well, from the background articles it seems that people aren't so much as hearing it as they are noticing a lack of wildlife and associating the two.

Given the CP-140 is expressly designed for hunting things under the ocean that wish to stay hidden, I'm sure we'll learn the source soon enough. While the Air Force is saying it only searched for an hour and a half, the Aurora can search areas for upwards of 8 hours at a time, so I highly doubt that's all they are planning on doing up there.

Why can't they triangulate it? Too deep to go?

Sound doesn't always travel in a straight line in the ocean. Different depths (pressures), different water temperatures, different salinity... they can all change the speed of propagation to some degree. Currents may also bend sound. Triangulation assumes that the sound traveled from the source to you at constant velocity in a straight line.

I thought of something mobile, so you can home in. But very interesting to learn it can be bend and reflects so much .

I don't know if it's "so much". I can think of several causes, but I don't know how big the overall effect is.

A good question at least is, did it show up on any seismograph or hydrophone networks?

Even if it did, they're probably not going to say anything because they don't want to give away their capabilities and/or they were responsible for it in the first place.

Reminds me of a book from Barjavel (French author): The Ice People

It's ice creaking

Locator beacon ping from another US 'broken arrow' ??

(Sorry, got carried away with the other 'discovery of a broken arrow' thread here yesterday!)

Triangulate, Track, Destroy ?

A 300 year-old human spaceship? :)

Russian sub...

One ping only.

A seismic anomaly?

Whales humping.

Godzilla. It's the only logical explanation.

My first thought was "Kaiju are coming"


It's the Ping of Death, obviously.

Nonono. Godzilla loves (hates?) Tokyo.

This is Canada stuff. Maybe this guy is involved:

I'd think it was Megatron but "Revenge of the fallen" happened.

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