During a casual stroll on the day before Halloween of this year, Brian Nuttall came across some weird, unusual ground movement.  He pulled out his cellphone and captured the video that was seen around the world. At last look, it had been viewed almost 19 million times.


Brian Nuttall was walking in the Apple River region of Cumberland County in Nova Scotia, Canada. He describes the ground as a “patch of trees spared from clear cutting” indicating the movement was limited to the trees and not the surrounding cleared area.

What is it?

The video shows the ground rise and fall in the rhythmic cadence of breathing. There are momentary stops in the rhythm, but it does give the weird illusion the ground is alive. Some have claimed this video to be creepy, while others consider it living proof the earth is really alive and we must protect her. Most have put their faith in science.

What is it Really?

This is a case of several trees with entangled roots just under the surface. The ground has loosened and the ground cover is in large part fallen leaves and organic matter which has accumulated on the top soil. When the winds blow hard enough, like in the video, the trees bend together and their roots move the ground up and down with the wind, giving the illusion of breathing.

Is This Unique, Rare or Common Place?

While this is not very common, many people have seen it throughout the years. A quick search using the term ‘moving ground breathing’ on Youtube reveals other examples in just a few seconds of scrolling. Included are examples from the United States and England. There are literally over 7,000 search results to pour through though most of them deal with earthquakes. This happens far more often than we would expect, but it is rarer when it happens in a manner to simulate breathing as well as it does in Nuttall’s video. The trees will eventually uproot and fall over.


Temperature for the day of October 30 was 60 degrees with no trace of rain. There was 0.4 inches recorded the previous day. Apple River had 13 days of recorded rainfall in a 31 day span, totaling 2.10 inches of rain for the month. However, Apple River is situated in an area where salt marshes are prevalent. It is not known how far upriver the video was taken.

Should We Worry?

The trees will eventually fall but there won’t be any attacks from underground dragons, marauding space invaders or out of work Ents from the land of the Lord of the Rings. However, I am expecting someone to make a weird movie about it in a year or two. I would look out for falling trees though.

Another way to look at it is to believe the Earth is a living planet. It supports life in many forms. When something interferes with the ability to support us and trillions of other life forms on this planet, it could be considered injured or diseased. When life on this planets dies, the Earth could die. Falling trees may be the Earth’s version of tooth decay.

Additional Image: Photopin

Do you believe the Earth is alive?