Earth's background free oscillations, known as Earth's hum, were discovered in 1998. Excited modes of the oscillations are almost exclusively fundamental spheroidal and toroidal modes from 2 to 20 mHz. Seasonal variations in the source distribution suggest that the dominant sources are ocean infragravity waves in the shallow and deep oceans. A probable excitation mechanism is random shear traction acting on the sea bottom owing to linear topographic coupling of the infragravity waves. Excitation by pressure sources on Earth's surface is also significant for a frequency below 5 mHz. A possible pressure source is atmospheric turbulence, which can cause observed resonant oscillations between the solid modes and atmospheric acoustic modes.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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