Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

After watching this video:

The experience is made with a speaker that generates a sound wave or mechanic wave. Can you use this to establish a link to HAARP which I believe uses ELF EM radiation?


share|cite|improve this question

I have not watched the video. But the answer of the question in the title is "yes". Electromagnetic waves carry momentum with it and it can impart momentum to an object. An object at rest in a reference frame can get some momentum from the em waves and start moving unless the object has infinite mass.

Edit: I have watched the video and completely agree with Georg. It is complete crackpottery.

share|cite|improve this answer

Electromagnetic waves cause matter displacement, but also almost certainly could not trigger earthquakes .

Most electromagnetic waves will be absorbed by the surface of the solid earth or, if high frequency enough by turning solid into liquid and plasma long before it can reach any metastable point in the tectonic plates to trigger an earthquake. The electromagnetic interaction with matter is too strong. It is the extremely low frequency, ELF waves that the video talks about that can penetrate without transmitting their energy into heat in the first meters. Part of their energy is turned into vibration of matter, as also seen in the video.

These ELF waves have many uses but it seems to me that the event the geologist observed was a coincidence. Earth tides, which displace the solid ground by something like 40cms every day would have already triggered metastable locations.Here is a publication connecting earthquakes with tides, so we see that gravitational waves can trigger earthquakes by the rising and falling of the solid earth, earth tides , maybe it was high tide when the geologist observed the correlation to his ELF probe.

The energy from vibrations induced by an ELF probe so that it could trigger stronger earthquakes would need to be locally very high, and also focused at the trigger area ( the location of the rock in the video). Certainly designing such a "weapon" on purpose would be futile.

share|cite|improve this answer

Dear Luis, in principle, the answer to your question is Yes. Electromagnetic fields carry both energy and momentum - and one may experimentally demonstrate how photons are able to push extraordinarily thin pieces of foil (and make them rotate).

However, the attractive video you included is highly unlikely to correspond to the reality because of the energy conservation. To find out whether the theory in the video is possible, you need not just the Yes/No question whether electromagnetic fields may move objects - they can - but also the quantitative questions e.g. "how much energy you need to cause an earthquake".

Just to get an idea:

The Japanese earthquake released energy equivalent to the detonation of 336 megatons of TNT which is 1.41 EJ - or 1.41 times $10^{18}$ Joules. You may calculate it is 392 terawatt-hours. One kilowatt-hour costs about 10 U.S. cents in America so you need to pay about 39 billion dollars for the electricity if you want to use electromagnetic phenomena to create a similar earthquake.

I am assuming you will have no losses. This argument is impossible to avoid because of the energy conservation law. So don't expect to be able to produce measurable earthquakes with your microwave oven.

share|cite|improve this answer
this argument is wrong as far as the crackpottery of that former oil geologist is concerned. To trigger something does not need to supply the energy of the event. – Georg Mar 13 '11 at 8:44
Yup, I fail to see your point, potential energy can be transferred, hence balancing the energy transfer – Luis Mar 13 '11 at 15:48
Well, if you happen to send the energy in a smart way so that you will ignite the earthquake, be my guest. In reality, the comparison goes in the opposite way: you would need a higher energy to trigger the earthquake. That's why a bigger earthquake usually triggers smaller ones rather than the other way around. – Luboš Motl Mar 13 '11 at 20:30

So I'm curiously studying the HAARP weapon idea.

I agree that you do not need to supply all the energy to release it. But it has to be a noticeable amount, right ?

HAARP produces 3.6 Megawatts of power. Some do claim 3.6 Gigawatts. But all my research so far points to million.

392 Terrawatts. For my mind I'm going to say 360. To keep it easy

10 % is 36 Terrawatts 1% is 3.6 Terrawatts 0.1% is 360 Gigawatts 0.01% is 36 Gigawatts 0.001% is 3.6 Gigawatts (highest possible but not likely ) 0.0001% is 360 Megawatts 0.00001% is 36 Megawatts And 0.000001 is 3.6 Megawatts,

So HAARP emitting 100% of its rated power. Not counting the loss of interaction in the ionoshpere ( to create the mirror effect ). Not counting the loss on the way down to the ground with theair ( this will be a small amount honestly ). Not counting the loss while traveling in water ( this is a very noticeable amount ) not counting the loss due to traveling through rock ( I can't see how you can ignore this amount ) can only give 0.000001% of the needed energy to cause this devestation.


share|cite|improve this answer
I'm not exactly sure what you're calculating. – Emilio Pisanty Aug 17 '12 at 20:41

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.