the pickup

The world is noisy.

With the help of Professor Robert Stewart and Kevin Hall of the Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary I explore ‘rocks talking’. A pick-up truck arrives with an impressive array of electrical cables strung out either side of the tray like day-glo hair curlers. These are the cables required for the geophones. Geophones measure movements of the earth.

walking out the cables

laying out cables

laying out cables

Each geophone unit (light blue) has a connector with three outputs red, green and dark blue (for the three directions captured in these particular geophone). These are plugged into the main cable (black with yellow plugs).


We have a string of eight sensors at 2.5 metre intervals. We position these right next to the road around Crash Corner. After a nail-biting wait whilst technical problems are sorted out, data is captured. Its a passive network so we are collecting cars and trucks and people walking. In the background is the constant rumble of Bow River Falls. Time is of the essence. We collect 10 minutes of data (for the 24 tracks) with plenty of redundancy. What will it sound like? There is plenty of chaotic movement out there. How would it have compared to a quieter site in the forest above Crash Corner? The clock is ticking. The weekend approaches. I hope Robert and Kevin make it back to Calgary in time for their evening’s chores and engagements. I am especially grateful to Robert and Kevin for their fantastic help in making it all possible.


aligning to magnetic north


geophones at 2.5 metre intervals

cable laid out

geophones at 2.5 metre intervals

Professor Robert Stewart

box that takes in the signals

getting annoyed with the computer!!

sorting out computer hassles


The cable around crash corner

Next week I will come and see the results and start working with the data transformed into audio files. Here’s to future sounds!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *