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The Loudest Noise Ever Heard On Earth

Posted by Echo Barrier on Sep 24, 2020 10:31:11 AM | loud noises environmental noise loudest noise on earth krakatoa
loudest noise ever heard on earth

We find discomfort and irritation in the environmental noise that appears in our day-to-day lives, like air, rail and road traffic noise, construction noise, and the hustle and bustle of urban life. These events usually take place from about 70 decibels and upwards (although any sound can be a “noise” if a recipient finds it bothersome), with 85 decibels being considered the point at which permanent hearing damage can begin to occur without adequate protection.

However, the loudest noises ever heard are so powerful, that they are no longer merely “heard” but instead become physically felt, even knocking people from their feet, shattering glass, causing physical damage and sometimes death.


Sound vs. Shock Waves

At 194 dB, the energy in the sound waves starts distorting and they create a complete vacuum between themselves. The sound is no longer moving through the air, but is in fact pushing the air along with it, forming a pressurized wall of moving air. This is called a shock wave, and it is at this point that a “sound” becomes a physically perceptible and possibly dangerous force. Something happened in the late 19th century in Indonesia that caused the most powerful shockwave in recorded history.



This volcanic eruption spectacularly demonstrates the force of a shock wave.


Krakatoa Volcanic Explosion

Considered the loudest event observed by mankind, the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 sent a shockwave around the world 3 to 4 times in all directions and killed an estimated 36,000 people. The volcano is located between Java and Sumatra in Indonesia and its explosion at Krakatoa was measured at 174 decibels at 100 miles from the source, which puts estimates of sound intensity of the shockwave at the source at an equivalent of 310 decibels. That is 1021 more powerful than noise from a jackhammer.


Echo Barrier Temporary Noise Control

They won’t control a seismic event, but Echo Barrier temporary noise barriers will certainly attenuate noise from construction equipment, tools, vehicles, traffic, generators, and more, reducing the likelihood of complaints and interruption. An array of barriers can reduce noise by up to 26 decibels in real-world use, with a lab-tested capability of a 42-decibel reduction.



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