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Schumann Resonance

There has been some confusion about the Schumann Resonance. A lot of people are saying that it is gradually increasing. Here's some information that will hopefully make things clear and lead to a better understanding of the phenomenon.

What is the Schumann Resonance?

Sound can "re-sound" or resonate when the source waves are added constructively to the sound bouncing back and forth inside a resonant chamber. In other words, when we are in an acoustically active environment, one with a high degree of "echo," we can amplify the sound by making more sound that constructively adds to the echo. (Read more about sound resonance.)

In the simplest terms, the Schumann Resonance is the resonance of low frequency electromagnetic waves bouncing around in the earth, with the earth being the active "resonant chamber."

Let Us Explain...

Schumann Resonance

The earth is surrounded by a layer of charged particles called the ionosphere. This layer of active charged particles is able to reflect low frequency electromagnetic radiation in a similar way as that of a mirror which is able to reflect light. Electromagnetic radiation is like radio waves or light. It travels at close to the speed of light, 300,000,000 m/s.

The ionosphere's property of reflecting radio waves is what enables you to tune in to radio stations around the world. If the ionosphere did not reflect radio waves as it doesn't reflect light, we would not be able to tune in a distant radio station because the signal would have gone out into space. This is exactly what happens with high frequency electromagnetic radiation like light. It is what allows us to see stars "through" the ionosphere.

The earth's surface is also conductive and, therefore, also reflects low frequency radiation. It is in this way that radio station signals from around the world reflect back and forth between the ionosphere and the surface.

So, both the earth's surface and the ionosphere are conductive surfaces able to reflect low frequency electromagnetic radiation. Together they create a resonant cavity. This cavity then is what makes the earth into a "resonant chamber" for electromagnetic radiation.

The earth is approximately 6,371 km in diameter or 40,030 km in circumference. An electromagnetic or radio signal travels at close to the speed of light. It, therefore, takes close to 0.1334 seconds to travel around the earth. This time would correlate with about 7.49 Hz. Notice that this is less than the 7.83 Hz that is commonly quoted. If you take into account that the ionosphere is approximately 300 km up and adjust the radius by 150 km, the calculation results in a round trip taking 0.136 seconds, which correlates to a frequency of approximately 7.32 Hz.

The 7.83 Hz is not an exact, specific frequency, but the "average" peak frequency of the resonance. It is necessary to average the Schumann frequencies over long periods of time, since the resonant peak is not particularly distinct and it changes with environmental conditions. This is the reason there are many stations like the one at Stanford that measures the frequency daily.

It is also interesting to note that 7.83 isn't the only resonant frequency. Other "harmonic" frequencies are also resonant, including approximately 14, 20, 26, 32, 37, and 42 Hz etc.

So, is the Schumann Resonance rising?

We don't know, but it makes sense that it could be if the first harmonic at 14 Hz started to resonate, for whatever reason, more strongly than the fundamental.



Longitudinal Wavelength Sound Waves Pitch and Frequency Speed of Sound Doppler Effect Sound Intensity and Decibels Sound Wave Interference Beat Frequencies Binaural Beat Frequencies Sound Resonance and Natural Resonant Frequency Natural Resonance Quality (Q) Forced Vibration Frequency Entrainment Vibrational Modes Standing Waves Law of Octaves Psychoacoustics Tacoma Narrows Bridge Schumann Resonance Animal BioAcoustics More on Sound


Law Of Octaves Sound Harmonics Western Musical Chords Musical Scales Musical Intervals Musical Mathematical Terminology Music of the Spheres Fibonacci Sequence Circle of Fifths Pythagorean Comma


Drum Vibrational Modes


Aristotle Copernicus Einstein Fibonacci Hermann von Helmholtz Kepler Sir Isaac Newton Max Planck Ptolemy Pythagoras Thomas Young
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Understanding the Physics of Sound
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