Infrasound: Noise you can’t hear, but feel—over huge distances

Aug 15, 2011

Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

Infrasound continues to mystify many readers of this website.  That’s a pity, because infrasound is the chief cause of Wind Turbine Syndrome (WTS).  If you don’t grasp the nature of infrasound, you’re going to have difficulty grasping WTS.

What we find, in particular, is that many people don’t appreciate how far infrasound can travel.  The answer is, “far!”  Even, “very far!”

Scroll to the bottom of this page and watch “The Sounds of Silence” by PBS’s Wired Science, explaining the remarkable propagation qualities of infrasound.  Pay close attention to the section where geophysicist, Dr. Milton Garces, sets up a small fan in a home—actually, a rotary sub-woofer, in some respects much like a wind turbine—whose oscillating blades produce infrasound.  (“It displaces a lot of volume—of air molecules—by shifting the pitch of the blades of the fan,” explains Garces.)  Notice how the infrasound—a 1 Hz pressure wave, in this instance—radiates through the walls of the house, and beyond.

Now, ponder those huge (and getting huger) “rotary sub-woofer” wind turbines being built 1500 feet or a mile from your home.  Or even several miles.

What turbines do is not only produce infrasound, but extremely strong bursts of infrasound—extremely strong & rapid (many times a second) bursts of pressure.  And that, dear reader, is undoubtedly the chief reason why people become ill.

Behold, Wind Turbine Syndrome:  extremely strong bursts of infrasonic pressure, radiating very far—through every barrier you can imagine.  As far as the vestibular organs of the inner ear are concerned—organs honed by Mother Nature over millions of years to respond to subtle pressure waves, to tell us (a) where we are in space and (b) control our spatial reasoning and cognition, and (c) to pinpoint our split-second sense of balance and motion—this is catastrophic.

Pierpont explains all this in detail in her book, “Wind Turbine Syndrome,” wherein she notes that you, dear reader, are the guinea pig in (what’s called in biology) a “natural experiment” being conducted by Big Wind.  (Read, “Your Guide to Wind Turbine Syndrome:  A roadmap to this complicated subject.”)

My advice?  Forget about suing the bastards, and forget about trying to present scientific proof to your town board (or any other government agency).  Your board is likely composed of knaves who were compromised at least a year ago by the wind developers (with turbine leases).  Instead, get mad.  Stay mad.  Make history.  After 8 years of running this website and reporting ad nauseum on this outrage, I say it’s time for civil disobedience.  Almost ludicrously and certainly tragically, it’s the only recourse offering any realistic hope of accomplishing something significant at this point in the Great Wind Energy Circus.

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(With appreciation to Frank Dehnke, Germany, for bringing this video to our attention.)

 

 

  1. Comment by Frank Haggerty (Falmouth, MA) on 08/15/2011 at 8:16 pm

    The 62 ton Abrams Tank System synchronizes its high tempo through a voracious gas turbine engine.

    The 55 ton narcelle or wind turbine motor weighs almost the same as the modern stealth Abrams military tank.

    The only sound that they are unable to hide in the Abrams tank is the over 1000 moving parts that include many gears . Both the gear driven commercial wind turbines and the US military modern tanks give off a type of vibration that id distinctive to both .

    Ground troops quickley tune in and learn the sound of a 62 ton Abrams tank from a distance of over a mile on a quiet night on the battle field .

    Residents such as the residents in Falmouth ,Massachusetts quickley tuned into the low hum and vibrations of the Falmouth Wind 1 turbine . About 50 families around this turbine have made major complaints about this type of low level noise 24/7 .

    The residents in Falmouth ,Massachusetts are living a life of Hell ! It’s just like living on a battle field 24/7 !

    I’ll bet the military has the answers to what that low level hum or pitch from the turning of all those gears actually is .

  2. Comment by Karen Bessey Pease (Kaz) (Maine) on 08/15/2011 at 10:22 pm

    Great video, Doctor. An excellent educational tool…

    Thanks to you and Dr. Pierpont for continuing to get the word out to those who have not paid attention to this serious topic because they think it won’t affect them. If the industrial wind proliferation continues unchecked, there won’t be many of us who do not know victims of infrasound.

    And thank you for caring, too.

    Frank, if you can think of anything I can do to help, please feel free to contact me at highlandmts@gmail.com

    All my best, and I am so sorry for your loss of quality of life.

    Kaz

  3. Comment by Mark Cool (Falmouth, Massachusetts) on 08/16/2011 at 7:37 pm

    The wind industry itself has their engineers documenting that effect can exist for at least 17 rotor diameters. Click here.

  4. Comment by Helen Parker, PhD Lic. Clinical Psychologist (Martha's Vineyard, MA) on 08/19/2011 at 3:53 pm

    .Helen Parker
    Helen Parker, PhD
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    Thank you for presenting yet another report of solid science addressing the exceptional propagation qualities of infrasound. It’s useful to read this together with the report (specific to BigWind): “Seismic Noise by Wind Farms: A case study from the Virgo Gravitational Wave Observatory, Italy,” wherein airborne infrasound plus ground-borne vibration produced by wind turbines were recorded up to 6.8 miles from the local wind farm.

    Add this to the August ‘11 issue of the journal Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, with its nine articles addressing turbine noise, including the peer-reviewed article by Carl Phillips, a Harvard-trained PhD, wherein he concludes that there is “overwhelming evidence that wind turbines cause serious health problems in nearby residents, usually stress-disorder type diseases, at a nontrivial rate…. There has been no policy analysis that justifies imposing these effects on local residents. The attempts to deny the evidence cannot be seen as honest scientific disagreement and represent either gross incompetence or intentional bias.”

    What la-la land do we live in that the press continues to present, as fact, local, national and worldwide wind proponents’ assertions that there are ‘no official complaints and there are no scientific studies showing evidence that wind turbines present problems’? How about residents in Falmouth and Vinalhaven, and thousands more from around the world?

    How bold can they be – continuing to claim ‘no peer-reviewed studies’?! Pierpont’s seminal Wind Turbine Syndrome (2009) was clearly peer reviewed by respected scholars in relevant fields (epidemiology, otolaryngology, neurology and population biology). These peer reviews were in fact reprinted in their entirety in the book. Other highly credentialed scientists and clinician reviewers support being quoted as they remark on her ‘astute and rigorous clinical observations,’ describe her work as “extraordinary…authoritative, meticulous and scholarly,” “impressive…and important.”

    Pierpont’s case cross-over design (which studies an individual’s health status before and after the windmills are installed – as well as incident to leaving from and returning to the turbine environment, with individual variables otherwise stable) is a most powerful research design, applauded as ‘revealing a high level of scientific integrity.’

    Numerous highly respected and authoritative peer-reviewed studies, both before and following Pierpont’s publication, address the health impacts of infrasound. Sample from the 36 references cited in “Wind-Turbine noise: What Audiologists Should Know,” featured in the JulAug2010 issue of Audiology Today.

    Add to this yet another branch of science – which has focused on the impacts of the intermittency of wind energy generation on fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions – and which has consistently and conclusively contradicted wind industry’s baseless claims, proving that installing massive wind turbines is decidedly NOT an environmentally friendly proposition, even only considering the above equation.

    WIND WON”T WORK! AND.. TURBINES PRODUCE INFRASOUND. INFRASOUND MAKES US SICK. END OF STORY. STOP THE WIND RUSH. STOP IT NOW.

    Why are we still engaged in this battle? WIND WON’T WORK. We know this. Why is my state senator still buying wind? Why is the President? Why Salazar? Why our local Energy Committees for that matter? Are they thinking? What are they reading? Do these folks not have the intelligence or integrity to distinguish science from cant?

    If they look at the new Bentek study released July, 2011 (a more thorough version of a similar 2010 study which came to similar conclusions), they’ll find science you can take to the bank for the next generation. Rather than rely on computer models using theoretical emissions data, the authors analyzed actual emissions data from electric generation plants located in four regions serving ~ 110 million customers, or about one-third of the U.S. population. Their results replicate findings in numerous earlier studies, nicely summarized in “T. Boone’s Windy Misadventure And the Global Backlash Against Wind Energy,” by Robert Bryce Jul. 28, 2011.

    Simply google the Bentek study’s authors, “Porter Bennett and Brannin McBee.” You’ll find for starters two dozen websites which within several weeks had posted the results of the Bentek study’s data collection and analysis to educate their readers. My point? Some people are paying attention. Some care enough to evaluate the wind claims, which over and over again are contradicted by unbiased scientific evidence.

    Why aren’t local, state and federal politicians paying attention? How do we reach them to persuade them to look at the blatant, incontrovertible truths and stop the wind madness which is costing taxpayers and ratepayers billions, destroying our non-renewable environmental treasures – wilderness and rural areas and now our very neighborhoods, our homes and, yes, our backyards?

    Truth will out. The only question is how many more tragedies will come down (or go up) before BigWind’s house of cards collapses. But those on whose watch those conservation lands, communities and people’s lives will have been destroyed should be so ashamed.

    I thought I had reached my state senator. I met with him one-on-one (and with his ‘Chief of Staff’). I gave him Pierpont’s book, a copy of the Virgo observatory report, gave him a dozen titles and websites to look at which come from an unbiased, science-based perspective on BigWind issues, …including its health impacts. He’s heard from his constituents in Falmouth whose lives have been (no exaggeration) destroyed by BigWind. Apparently he’s looking another direction. I dedicate this comment to him.

    Here’s to you, MA State Senator Dan Wolf. I look forward to seeing you September 26th at the public hearing 10am-4pm at The Tilden Arts Center, Cape Cod Community College.

    We’ll be addressing the MA legislature’s attempt to take away local control in BigWind turbine siting decisions, their attempt to eviscerate longstanding statewide environmental protections, to take away our heretofore inalienable right of appeal to a court of law – all to fast-track BigWind installations willy-nilly with no consideration of the consequences – human, environmental – hang it all. Why? For what good? I hope on September 26th you will stand up and take questions, but that first you will tell us why – a good hard substantive why – you’ve chosen to come out in favor of this bill. Bear in mind that Falmouth folks surely will be there. Have you decided to throw them to the wolves, with your entire district to follow? It behooves you at least to make your case.

  5. Comment by Itasca Small on 08/30/2011 at 2:02 am

    I’m just one victim of BigWind. I am suffering from the infrasound and/or vibrations from WTs approximately 11 miles ENE of my home in Navajo County, Arizona, where the state and counties are calling the industry to invade us – and they are happy to oblige. Thank you very much for this article and the comments. I find them bracing, strengthening my resolve in this unbelievable war.

    I believe the only explanation for the love affair with the wind industry is that participants in the debacle are willfully blinded by promises of ‘save the planet’ and megabucks and jobs iin the short term – regardless what it actually costs the taxpayers, ratepayers, and victims. Their reality is what they want it to be, not what is true. The excuse: it’s their property and they have the right to do what want with it. If you can prove there are adverse health effects, well that would make a difference. The trick is meeting their unscientific requirements for proof. Our paid county minion still says he can’t change his recommendations because the professional opposition is just a small circle of people who cheerlead for each other. (Not an exact quote, but the essence of his stand.)

    I do see some positive indicators that God is working in this whole war and things are getting more difficult for the industry as many people are fighting and praying for relief. Hopefully, the USFWS guideline process will continue to hold their feet to the fire. The Bald & Golden Eagle Act is helping to stymie projects all over the nation, including within 1/2 mile from my home. We must keep trying to reach our elected officials as we also pray for them. May God be with you all, and especially with Dr. Parker on September 26th!

  6. Comment by George Papadopoulos on 09/19/2011 at 5:09 pm

    In my area, the Capital Region of Australia, I have been hearing ongoing strange noises that seem to be coming from the ground for about 2 or so years. It was only recently that this noise got dramatically worse and so I started asking my rural neighbours for clues. One of them started hearing the same noise at the time that I noticed the marked worsening of it, and unlike me he could see why—a new wind turbine development went up down the horizon 35km away!

  7. Comment by Penny Melko on 09/30/2011 at 5:15 am

    Thank you everyone for the inspiration to keep fighting against wind turbines.

    I live in the Tehachapi Pass, California. Has anyone been able to force your city, county and officials on the Boards to open their personal books for a thorough audit of their finances and investments? Each should be compelled to open these to check for bribes and investments in wind generators and involvement in the companies. It is a clean way to have them prosecuted.
    .
    bribe
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    I’m so sorry anyone is subjected to the trash they call equipment. The expectation is for the people to learn to coexist with ill conceived electrical equipment rather than forcing the companies to either redesign the equipment or abandon it.

  8. Comment by Valerie on 10/02/2011 at 2:08 am

    Hi, I have been researching to find out what this low-frequency throb is in Highland County. It goes on 24/7. Thankfully I will be leaving the area in 10 days, but I must say this sound is giving me headaches and nausea.

    Is there any info. on whether this is a nearby wind plant?

    Editor’s reply: Is there a windplant nearby? If so, how close to where you live? If you’re within several kilometers of a windplant, there’s a good chance that’s the culprit.

  9. Comment by Gary morris on 06/03/2013 at 12:12 pm

    Hello,

    I’m looking for help in stopping a wind farm from being built in my valley. What l need is to find scientific evidences to show that infrasound is produced by wind turbines and that the infrasound is harmful to people over 2 kms away.

    If I can show to a judge that there have been tests to show this is the case, then I have a good chance to not only stop them being built in my valley, but the company involved and others will be forced to show true studies on the health risks before they are able to build anymore.

    I am involved in a very important test case here in Australia and only have a couple of months to come up with this evidence.

    Can anyone help?

    Gary

    Editor’s note:  Hi Gary!  All the evidence you need is found in abundance on our website.  Go to the Article Archive and begin reading, category by category.  Print off PDF documents within articles of interest.  Print off any articles you find useful.  Be sure to read Pierpont’s articles on “What is Wind Turbine Syndrome?”

  10. Comment by Chris on 07/09/2013 at 10:08 pm

    We need a quality documentary film maker that can deliver all the details above into a short film and spread it via social media.

    Chris