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J Acoust Soc Am. 2000 Dec;108(6):3066-72.

Seismic properties of Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) vocalizations and locomotion.

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Center for Conservation Biology, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, California 94305-5020, USA.


Seismic and acoustic data were recorded simultaneously from Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) during periods of vocalizations and locomotion. Acoustic and seismic signals from rumbles were highly correlated at near and far distances and were in phase near the elephant and were out of phase at an increased distance from the elephant. Data analyses indicated that elephant generated signals associated with rumbles and "foot stomps" propagated at different velocities in the two media, the acoustic signals traveling at 309 m/s and the seismic signals at 248-264 m/s. Both types of signals had predominant frequencies in the range of 20 Hz. Seismic signal amplitudes considerably above background noise were recorded at 40 m from the generating elephants for both the rumble and the stomp. Seismic propagation models suggest that seismic waveforms from vocalizations are potentially detectable by instruments at distances of up to 16 km, and up to 32 km for locomotion generated signals. Thus, if detectable by elephants, these seismic signals could be useful for long distance communication.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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