What Does an Earthquake Sound Like and Does It Sound Like Thunder?

Imagine hearing thunder, explosions, or cracking under the ground, or the roar of an underground train where there is no subway.

All of these sounds may he heard during or even up to 2 weeks before an earthquake. The noise is the sound of earth actually moving and breaking.

These noises travel better through solid ground than softer terrain, and, during an earthquake, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish them from the crashing of structures and buildings above ground.

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  • no thank u

    I live in japan. I have experienced many kinds of earthquakes, including the great tohoku earthquake of march, 2011.

    some earthquakes make a lot of noise and feel like a high frequency rumble rushing through the earth. its a short sound like a large rock rolling down the street.

    Others are quiet with lots of slow, swaying movements. it might feel like you are standing on jello in this case you mostly hear sounds caused by the earthquake, such as: buildings shaking, things falling or the surface of the earth tearing. there are also rumbling sounds that accompany these quakes.

    other times the earthquake is just a loud ‘bang’ like someone striking the earth with a giant hammer. the ground might feel like it drops out from under you during these kinds of short, intense quakes.

    i have watched videos on the Internet and have never heard the sound captured with a video camera properly. i doubt its even possible. the scale of the sound is too great.

    i hate earthquakes.

  • Earthquakes SUCK!

    I was in The Seattle Quake in 2001 I was in my Senior year of High School in Everett,WA it sounded like a massive Train about to hit you. Then everything started shaking lasted a good 10mins. Then it was silent. The weirdest thing in my 29yrs I have ever Experienced. Only good advise I can provide is If you hear it DUCK AND COVER!!!

  • Kerry Aleshire

    I live in Va. very near the epicenter of the Aug. 2011 earthquake. I also live in a rural area on a farm so there was no “city” noises. The noise that quake made where I live was the most un-nerving sound I’ve ever heard. I live only a few miles from the Lake Anna Nucular Power Plant so one of the first things I thought of (after thinking my washing machine was severely off balance) was that there had been somekind of accident there, so I ran out side expecting to see a mushroom cloud. The sound was a very low, loud, gutteral growl that went on for a very long time. Sort of sounded like a train, but still very different. It was almost like the earth moaning. The aftershocks had that same sound but didn’t last as long.