Inspired by Maggie's post on the Miles O'Brien PBS NewsHour report from Chernobyl, 25 years after the nuclear disaster there, a follower on Twitter just pointed me to this amazing series of works by sound artist Peter Cusack— Ambient sounds at Chernobyl, Ukraine, recorded in 2006.
From the project notes:
Since the nuclear catastrophe of April 26 1986, and in complete contrast to human life, nature at Chernobyl is thriving. The evacuation of people has created an undisturbed haven and wildlife has taken full advantage. Animals and birds absent for many decades – wolves, moose, black storks – have moved back and the Chernobyl exclusion zone is now one of Europe's prime wildlife sites. Radiation seems to have had a negligible effect.
The increase in wildlife numbers and variety means that the natural sounds of springtime are particularly impressive. For me the passionate species rich dawn chorus became Chernobyl's definitive sound. Chernobyl is also famous for its frogs and nightingales. Nighttime concerts were equally spectacular.
Of course, judging from the NewsHour report, today Chernobyl sounds like phones ringing. News crews from around the world are all trying to book time at the site to produce reports on the 25th anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster in history.
Related: Cusack's "Sounds From Dangerous Places" project collected sounds from places including Chernobyl, the Azerbaijan oil fields, and areas near controversial dams on the Tigris and Euphrates river systems in Turkey, all of which are sites of major environmental damage.