An earthquake sends vibrations coursing through the planet. National Geographic

What is it like to be inside an earthquake, rather than on top of one? It’s hard to know if you don’t live in Earth’s mantle, more than 20 miles below the planet’s surface.

The Hayden Planetarium’s SeismoDome in New York City can bring you pretty close, combining data from actual earthquakes with animations. You can see waves rippling across a screen while hearing sounds from real quakes, manipulated to be in a range humans can perceive. “Not the rumbling of the ground that results, but the earthquake itself,” according to a report in National Geographic.

Read: What Do Dinosaurs and a Colorado Earthquake Have in Common? An Asteroid

“When these waves are sped up more, they sound like slow chirps, and sometimes even like whale songs,” geophysicist Ben Holtzman told the magazine. “Hearing the sound, and then the explanation, gives people a visceral experience to attach the physical meaning to.”

The sound can vary both in frequency and length depending upon the magnitude of the earthquake. Holtzman explained in a video (below) that the waves from a magnitude-seven quake will stop within a day, but with a magnitude-nine or higher, the Earth “is ringing for about 3 months.” With the SeismoDome, “we wanna give people a sense of how small we are, how short our lifetimes are.”

See also:

How the Sun Messes With Earth’s Electricity

Pieces of Baby Earth Erupt from a Volcano