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B. A Global Network of Infrasound Monitoring

Narrator: This is Science Today. Infrasound energy tracking, which can detect signals that fall below the 20-Hertz level of human hearing, was widely used in the 50s and 60s because of a high amount of nuclear testing in the atmosphere. But when nuclear testing moved underground, the technology decreased. Now, researcher Michael Hedlin of the University of California, San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography says infrasound monitoring is making a comeback due to the number of countries capable of developing nuclear weapons. Hedlin and his group have deployed such a listening device in the California desert.

Hedlin: This station that we've built is to be part of a global network of stations - a network that will have sixty similar listening posts to listen for sounds from secret nuclear explosions.

Narrator: But that's not all they can detect

Hedlin: It will simultaneously listen to sounds produced by all sorts of other sources - including hurricanes, tornadoes, landslides, supersonic aircraft and of course, meteors. We feel we can learn a lot more about them just by listening to them.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.