live sound collage broadcasts

Seismology is the study of acoustic waves in the earth. The field of earthquake seismology monitors sounds created by the shifting of the tectonic plates to map out structures within the earth. This is accomplished through the use of machines called seismographs and seismometers.

This edition of Special Collections will unite the work of some of the earliest researchers of seismology with those on the cutting edge today.

In the 1950s, Dr. Hugo Benioff of CalTech University devised a seismograph that recorded its data onto analog tape at a speed of 0.02 inches per second, creating an audio recording on vinyl wherein the movement of the tonearm on one’s record player mimics the needle movement of the original seismograph.

He released this recording on an album in 1953 called Out Of This World.

The Sound of Seismic project consolidates realtime data from the Global Seismographic Network, a 150+ station digital seismic monitoring network, to broadcast continuous seismic sound generated from realtime global earthquake data. The algorithms developed by the SOS project “process seismic wave-form data collected by seismometers as grand Musique Concrète instruments performing a continuous and autonomous composition streamed across the internet 24/7 - 365 days per year.”

Their live netcast and more in-depth information on this project is available at

The Seismic Sound Lab is located at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, New York. Their project Seismodome, which took place at the Hayden Planetarium in San Fransisco, combines spatialization of sound and geodynamics to create a sonic map of worldwide earthquake activity as experienced from inside the Earth. Check out their videos, like the one above, and projects at


Broadcast date: May 28th 2019
KCHUNG Los Angeles 1630AM

SPECIAL COLLECTIONS is a broadcast project by Sam Rowell.
Each edition is mixed live on the air.