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Shortly after I arrived in Changsha end of last week, a high frequency sound hit my right ear so hard that my ear auto tuned out (i.e. went deaf) for more than a few seconds. A friend shared that when this happens to him, normally it means to him that an earthquake has just happened near his part of the world. True enough, I searched online and found that a pretty serious earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale had just occured in Qinghai just half a day before this high frequency noise incident.
Episodes of explosive noises of natural origin, or brontides, have been well documented, often in association with seismic activity and in a few cases as precursors to major earthquakes. Ground-to-air acoustic transmission from shallow earthquakes can account for many of these episodes, but not for all, and other causes, such as the sudden eruption of gas from high-pressure sources in the ground may at times have been responsible. Confusion with distant thunder or artillery at times of anomalous sound propagation complicates the analysis, and more recently the greatly increased frequency of artificial explosive noises and sonic booms has tended to mask the recognition of natural brontides.