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Mysterious "West Seattle Hum" sound solved - Scientists Blame Fish!

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posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 08:52 AM

Biologists at the University of Washington's Marine Biology program believe the source of the noise may be the male midshipman fish, which can be found in a local waterway.

The midshipman fish lets out a distinctive mating call that sounds like a drone and can go on for hours as males compete against each other for female attention. Researchers believe the mating calls may be bouncing off ships and buildings, amplifying the sound.

But scientists attempting to record the strange hum on Friday were unable to pinpoint the source of the noise.

Typical Midshipman Type II male calls are divided into: short grunts that last for milliseconds or are produced in a series of grunts called a “grunt train,” mid-duration growls, and long duration advertisement hums that can last up to an hour.
These calls can be recorded naturally. They can also be produced in a laboratory, a procedure known as “fictive calling” In nature, two muscles contracting on the swim bladder produce these sounds. In the lab, sounds are produced by a stimulating electrode placed on the periaqueductal gray (PAG) and a recording electrode placed on the occipital nerve that leads to the sonic muscles of the fish.Wikipedia....

Artists impression

Although Midshipman fish have been known to wake houseboat owners, I find it highly unlikely that even an entire school of fish could produce such a sound that "bounces off buildings and ships" and permeates through-out an entire section of a city on and off for 2 days.

If this explanation is the most like cause of the "West Seattle Hum" then why has it not occurred during every previous mating season to the point of keeping residents awake for hours at a time.

Apparently a similar sound occurred in 2009 but a failed attempt was made in determining the cause.

Could this have a more sinister explanation - perhaps something to do with H.A.A.R.P?

Is it related to other mysterious sounds heard around the world that has left scientists baffled?

Can our Seattle based ATS members weigh in here - lets hear what you have to say.

Huffington Post
edit on 9-9-2012 by Sublimecraft because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 09:19 AM
Doesn't this "hum" occur on Vashon Island?

posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 09:22 AM

Steroid-Mediation The vocalizations of male midshipman fish are androgen and estradiol steroid mediated. There are high blood levels of these hormones during the transition from non-calling to calling before midshipman breeding season[8], suggesting that higher hormone levels are needed for making advertisement calls. Feeding 11-ketotestosterone coated scallops to toadfish increases their calling behavior[9], which identifies 11-ketotestosterone, an androgen hormone, as a mediator of midshipman fish vocalization.

Maybe environmental contamination is causing hormonal imbalances in the Midshipman fish's metabolism and is causing the fish to call incessantly.

Another possible scenario would be the frequency of breeding seasons and the reliance on environmental factors by the fish to determine the appropriate time to breed/mate. The right Luna cycle combined with the right water temperature at the appropriate time of year may send the fish into a mating frenzy.

I suppose at the very least....we have something that can be tested. If it is the Midshipman fish that is causing the sound, it shouldn't be hard to validate with a little analysis.

posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 11:23 AM
Its NOT fish.

I listened to a recording of it, and it is quite techno sounding, not plates, not fish, and I suspect HAARP.

It also is identical, or nearly, to what we heard over a year ago spring of 2011. For over a week. That was both inside and outside, off and on. We're over an hour from the coast.

posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 11:51 AM

Originally posted by Unity_99
Its NOT fish.

I listened to a recording of it, and it is quite techno sounding, not plates, not fish, and I suspect HAARP.

Techno' sounding?

Like a Honda Civic with subs?


It also is identical, or nearly, to what we heard over a year ago spring of 2011. For over a week. That was both inside and outside, off and on. We're over an hour from the coast.

Kudos for vagueness.

Care to elaborate on your location if it debunks the Midshipman fish theory?

posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 12:52 PM
reply to post by Sublimecraft

The Midshipman Fish explanation may make sense to a Biologist but it does not make any sense to a Physicist.

This fish only vocalizes when submerged so any sounds produced by this fish must first pass through the water to air interface. Water is considerably more dense than air and has an acoustic impedance of ~1,500,000 Pa-sec/m compared to an air impedance of ~400 Pa-sec/m. The greater than 3000 times higher impedance of water compared to air tells us that only an extremely small amount of these underwater sounds will pass directly into the atmosphere. Typically, the only people who hear Midshipman Fish live on boats because the partially submerged hull couples underwater sounds into the hold.

IMO, no sound produced underwater could account for the ~ +65 dB-SPL sound I heard in the Seattle recording.

West Seattle Blog - Is ‘the hum’ industrial noise? Many reports, few complaints – so far

Best regards,

edit on 9/9/2012 by DrZrD because: Corrected spelling

posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 01:04 PM
Listening to Clyde Lewis the other night that sound does not sound like something millions of fish, or any creature would make in some kind of totally in sync rhythm. It was incredible loud and traveled over many miles, so how did that sound come out of the water and travel. Lastly why would it not be a yearly event if it was fish?

I'm leaning towards some kind of an earth Harmonic Resonance for we do have a lot of active volcanoes up here and moving magna could possibly do this. The sound was also non-directional and so I think this points me towards this more than fish in the ocean...

edit on 9-9-2012 by Xtrozero because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 04:36 PM
Here's what the Plainfin Midshipman Fish sounds like. NPR had a series on Wild Sounds this is from July 2009.

Another link: DOSITS (Discovery of Sound in the Sea) Scroll down to the plainfin midshipman. Make sure you click on the full description & sound bites.
edit on 9-9-2012 by SeekingDepth because: Added another good sound link.

edit on 9-9-2012 by SeekingDepth because: more info

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