EleFact Friday: Seismic Vibes

On previous EleFact Fridays we’ve discussed how elephants can communicate via vibrations that they feel in their feet. Today’s EleFact takes that idea a little further and looks at whether elephants can be located by scientists not just by their vocalizations, but also by these seismic waves. 

Researchers examined the differences between audible and seismic communications and found that vibrational signals were actually more accurate than acoustic ones in tracking down elephants. When looking at the same event – a rumble – through sound versus through vibration, vibrations were more accurate in locating elephants over 85% of the time. 

When examining the data, researchers found that there’s a possibility that there are advantages of using seismic waves to locate and follow elephants over methods like GPS tracking or wildlife camera surveillance. Seismic sensors are easy to bury, while acoustic microphones are placed above ground and have the potential to be exposed to winds, rain, solar radiation, or be damaged by wildlife. Vibrations can travel in all directions and are also more effective in areas of thick vegetation, where cameras can’t be placed.

All of this information can inform decisions made regarding human and elephant interactions, which are increasingly important when considering climate change, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflict. 

To view the data used in this study, you can read the paper here:

Photo of Rana eating hay with Mara grazing in the background


  1. REPLY
    Beci says

    I totally believe this is true. look at the tidal wave that happened several years ago. There was a young child on an elephant they were going into the water and the elephant, who apparently normally obeyed it’s caregiver all the time took off running to go to the top of the hills. It ended up saving the child’s life. But many other animals at that time they also did the same thing so I believe animals can definitely sense these things not just elephants. did you see the documentary on that elephant? Younshould watch it if you get a chance.

  2. REPLY
    Bonnie says

    All Animals are smart and have feelings

  3. REPLY
    Alejandra Enquin says

    Maravillosos los elefantes tan sensibles,inteligentísimos y sabios.Todos los animales son nuestros ” maestros”🙏💚🙌🐘🐘🐘🌍🌿🌎🙏❤️

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