Popular Science

Seven sounds science has yet to solve

ings. Buzzes. Rumbles. Booms. Hums. Bumps in the night. Sounds of unknown origin can be more than unsettling; they can inspire decades of mythos and fear—and obsessive scientific inquiry. Some cases of enigmatic noise are now closed, like the southern Pacific “bloops” detected by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hydrophones in 1997 and finally, in 2005, tied to Antarctic icequakes. But other cacophonous culprits remain at large. From jarring radio broadcasts to harmonious dunes, here are some of the world’s great

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