This article is supported by brilliant. The tree falls in a forest, and no one’s there to hear it. Does it make a sound? This was the question put forth by George Berkeley and a 1710 okay. The tree falls in a forest, and no one’s there to hear it.
Does it make a sound? This was a question put forth by Thais. If tree falls in a forest and there’s, no one there to hear it. Does it make a sound? Yes, it makes this one. The question: okay, who’s, saying that you’re.
Looking right at me, I’m looking at a tree. Oh, what do you know you’re, not as dumb as you look? Okay, alright somebody somebody put a walkie-talkie on the tree, and this is messing with me. There’s; no, oh god, no walkie-talkie pal! It’s.
Just you and me, and you’re, very human centric view of the world. What you think, just because there’s, no human there to hear it that the laws of physics cease to exist. I mean the nerve, unbelievable.
It’s, just a philosophical argument about the nature of oh, my god. I’m talking to the tree. Yeah yeah, you’re talking to a tree, a tree that can sense and perceive things, but can you, though, no I point my leaves toward the sky because I can’t perceive sunlight.
Of course, I can perceive things sound low come on if it’s loud enough. Sound is just a pressure wave strong enough. One could knock. Some leaves off. Aha, but would the sound of a tree falling be enough to knock your leaves off huh? Oh you think of that see now you know I got you, give me the silent treatment huh, that’s right thought.
Take that, oh god, I’m talking to a tree. Oh, oh, my god, Jake is one! Oh, it’s, amazing this. What I’m, doing right now with my front, face hole that’s, making stuff that’s being picked up by your side face holes.
I am communicating complex ideas and thoughts by manipulating the density of air molecules at microscopic scales, and I’m doing it by pushing air through two vibrating flaps in my throat, which is why this is something that trees could never do.
Of course, all these words and ideas only become meaningful once it’s processed in the brain, our ears just collect sound information, the same way our eyes, collect visual information and that sound information is usually represented by a transverse wave like this in yeah.
It gets the idea across, but this is not how sound actually travels to the air. You know particles of air, don’t just bob up and down in space, the peaks and the valleys of the transverse way they actually represent.
High and low particle densities in the air sound actually travels in a longitudinal wave, as this animation shows a pressure, wave forces, particles back and forth in and out of high and low densities.
If you follow the red dots in the image you can see they aren’t travelling with the wave. They just carry it almost like people doing a wave at the football game, and this is how sound travels through all forms of matter.
In fact, the higher the density of the matter, the faster the wave travels through air, actually is one of the slowest mediums for sound to travel through pressure. Waves travel four times faster in water and four times faster than that in something solid like say, steel and, of course, in space there’s, no sound because there’s, no matter for that sound to travel through and just like.
We can only see certain wavelengths of light, which we call the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum. There’s, only certain wavelengths of sound the weak in here and sound as measured in hertz.
Nobody does it better than earth awkward. Actually hertz is just a measurement of wavelengths and cycles per second, so you might be all about that base, but anything below 20 Hertz per second, you’re, probably not gon na hear, because that’s considered subsonic it’S too low for humans to hear, although you can’t, feel it in your body on the upper end, we can hear everything up to about 20,000 Hertz or 20 kilohertz anything about that.
It’s considered ultrasonic. But of course, we’re, not here to talk about pitch. We’re here to talk about volume and that is measured in decibels, decibels or decibels as it’s. Sometimes pronounced is named after Alexander, Graham Bell, who invented things like the metal detector in the phone, the phone, and he was also the honorary president of the second international congress for eugenics, because we just can’t have anything nice now.
What’s, interesting and sometimes hard to grasp about decibels is that they’re, actually measured on a logarithmic scale. So 20 is actually 10 times higher than 10. 30 is actually a hundred times higher than 10.
So, just for some context leaves blowing in the wind might be about 10 decibels like rain might be 40 decibels in a normal conversation might be about 60 decibels. A noisy restaurant might be about 80 decibels and when you get up 200 decibels now you’re getting into like chainsaw territory.
This is the area where long term exposure can cause hearing loss and at about 110 decibels, that’s about how loud my parents side. When I told them I wanted to go to film school, when you get to 130 decibels, you start to experience pain.
This is about how loud it might be at the front. Row of a rock concert. Fireworks are at about 150 and 160 is where you might find a shotgun blast. This is also the area where one time exposure to levels of that loudness can cause hearing damage, and one of the loudest things are human being can do is a rocket launch it around 180 decibels, and if you & # 39, ve ever been to a rocket Launch you know even miles away.
That is loud in fact, that’s, why they doused the launch pad with, like thousands of gallons of water, just to dampen the sound, because without it it could actually melt the concrete and destroy the launch apparatus.
Just the sound now technically, these hundred and eighty decibel launches are the loudest things that human beings can possibly do because above 100, 95 decibels it’s, not really considered sound anymore.
It’s just completely broken. Apart into just a straight-up shockwave and ever since gunpowder was invented in East Asia, around 1211 we’ve, been really good at making shockwaves. The loudest human-made sounds ever have to be the nuclear tests that we’re done during the Cold War.
All in all, I’ve, been 2121 nuclear tests, some of them underwater, some of them underground, some of them in the air all bad ideas. The last two nuclear bombs that were openly tested were Kessel. Bravo by the United States, 15 Megaton nuke, and then you probably know where this was going.
The Tsar Bomba the Tsar Bomba or as the Russians called it Ivan, was the largest nuclear explosion ever to be detonated. Ever it was an experimental 50 Megaton bomb tested on October 30th, 1961 on severny Island fun side note.
It was actually called the tsar bomba as a bit of an inside joke because they already had a ridiculously huge cannon called the tsar cannon and a huge bell called the tsar bell. There’s, so many crazy facts about this bomb.
I’m, not even gon na try to like put it into any kind of dialogue here for you, I’m. Just I’m. Just gon na read these off for you, he created a five-mile wide fireball. That was seen a thousand kilometers away.
The heat from this thing was so strong. It could give you third-degree burns from 62 miles away it registered it a mind-blowing 220 decibels. It was a hundred times louder than a Saturn five rocket. The pressure wave it created registered on seismometers as a 5.
0 earthquake. This thing broke windows, 560 miles away 560 miles just for context. This is what I’m 560 mile radius looks like from my hometown of Dallas. Everything in that gray circle broken windows like look.
We’ve, seen articles of other nuclear explosions. They’re all kind of epic, but I mean the Tsar. Bomba is just on a whole other level. It was so bananas that the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union signed a nuclear test ban treaty two years later, that the banned all atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, so it all went underground after that, thankfully, we haven’t been in any Nuclear wars since then, so that is the loudest human-made sound ever now.
That might be a good place to stop. That was kind of the idea behind this article. I wanted to say what was the loudest sound that human beings have ever made but hey? Why stop there? Because, in all of our hubris and all of our perceived self-importance, we can’t hold a candle to mother nature, so let’s.
Keep going Joe needs bigger, boobs in August of 1883, the islands of Java and Sumatra. They had a bigger boom. The Krakatoa volcano erupted with a volcanic explosivity index of six, which is a terrifyingly small number when you consider it blew with a force of two hundred megatons of TNT.
Remember this our was 50-megaton, so this was like four of those going off. At the same time, it measured at 230 decibels, sailors, 65, kilometers away had their eardrums blown out and it was heard as far away as the island of Rodrigues near Mauritius.
Four thousand seven hundred and eighty kilometers west of the explosion. In fact the sound wave traveled all the way around the world, possibly three or four times. Sadly, the explosion killed more than 36,000 people, both from the massive shock wave, but also from the tsunamis that were produced when the caldera collapsed into the sea.
165 coastal villages on Java and Sumatra were literally erased by a hundred and twenty foot high wall of water. Krakatoa by the way is still active. This footage right here was taken in 2018, so if you think 2020 can’t get any worse, it ain’t over yet now as massive as Krakatoa explosion was.
That was not the biggest explosion. Indonesia has ever seen in fact that wasn’t the biggest explosion in that century Tambora. Another volcano in Indonesia exploded in 1815 with an estimated force of 800 megatons.
So this was four times Krakatoa, which was four times the Tsar Bomba and they didn’t keep records quite as well back then, but it’s, estimated that if it was four times bigger than Krakatoa and Krakatoa was 230 decibels, and This would probably be around 250 decibels being logarithmic and all and where Krakatoa killed, 36,000 people Tambora killed up to 70,000 people and then ejected so much ash into the atmosphere that lower global temperatures for years.
In fact, 1816 became known as the year without a summer. I’ll. Let you figure out why even more interesting fact, due to some of the crazy weather phenomena that was going on that year, the author, Mary Shelley and her husband, Percy Shelley, were kind of hunkered down at the Swiss villa of the friend of theirs.
Named Lord Byron, and so just the kind of passed the time they played a game to see who could come up with the scariest story and the scariest story that came out of that night came from Mary Shelley, which later went on to be Frankenstein.
Now that’s, probably as far as we can go in terms of explosions that we could actually guesstimate in terms of decibels. But there were some recorded explosions back in history before we had the ability to to measure stuff like that.
Krakatoa actually had another explosion in the fifth century AD that literally split the island of Sumatra in two and may have ushered in the dark ages. But the one that takes the cake for me is the Thira explosion which took place on the island that we now call Santorini in Greece and it’s, considered by many measures.
The biggest explosion in recorded human history, Krakatoa and Tambora may have killed tens of thousands of people, but the Thira explosion wiped out an entire civilization and may have been a contributing factor to the ending of the Bronze Age.
The Bronze Age collapse is something I’ve talked about in other places. It’s, it’s entirely fascinating to me. It all took places around 1177 BC and basically there were several long-standing centuries-old civilizations that were around the Mediterranean and they all just collapsed within a period of like a hundred years.
Now there were many other factors that led to these collapses, besides just the Thira explosion, but it did kind of help destabilize the region. It was actually so big that it was recorded in Egypt and in China.
It might be the most influential explosion in all of human history, except possibly one if thira was the largest recorded explosion in all of human history. The next question is: what is the largest explosion that could have ever possibly had been witnessed by a human being, and for that we got to talk about the Toba supervolcano yeah.
We’re just now getting into super volcano territory. The Toba supervolcano is located again in Indonesia, which seems to be the world’s, tectonic anus, and it occurred 70,000 years ago. So it is possible that a human being was around to witness this, but studies of the eruption of theorized that it ejected up to 2,800 cubic kilometers of ash into the air to compare that to Krakatoa it ejected 21 cubic kilometers towba was bigger and there are Some that theorized, that all that Ash created an ice age that almost completely wiped out humans – I’ve, talked about this in a previous article, but genetic studies have shown that there was a bottleneck in the human species about the same time as the Toba supervolcano for a while there there were only as or so humans walking the earth.
We were an endangered species. Now the Toba catastrophe theory is hotly debated. It may or may not have been the thing that caused that bottleneck, but regardless that explosion easily has to be the biggest explosion that could have possibly been heard by human beings.
Of course, human beings have only been around for a tiny part of the history of this planet. There were definitely some bigger explosions that occurred before this. That would qualify as a much bigger sound than anything.
We ever heard. This definitely challenges the whole philosophical argument of. Does it sound matter if there’s, not a person there to hear it if a tree falls in the forest, blah blah blah well, for the purposes of this, let’s just agree that, yes, if a tree falls in a forest Or if the world gets explosive volcanic diarrhea, then? Yes, it does make us out.
Even if there’s, not a person there. This is probably what you think. I’m gon na talk about Yellowstone, but no, I won & # 39. T accept that kind of just did. The Yellowstone supervolcano eruption was epic to be sure, but if you want to talk about the biggest explosion, that’s ever occurred on planet Earth, you got ta, go bigger and you got ta go into space.
The Chicxulub crater on Mexico’s. Yucatan Peninsula is the site of the most cataclysmic explosion in Earth’s. History. We’re 66 million years ago, an asteroid between 11 and 81 kilometers wide slammed into the earth.
This explosion wiped out the dinosaurs and 75 % of all life on the planet, with the force of a hundred million megatons getting hit by that shockwave, even thousands of miles away, it would have vaporized you this changed everything about life on Earth by getting rid of The dinosaurs and the giant reptiles, leaving room for the smaller mammals to evolve and grow and eventually become giant sloths.
We picked a giant sloth. Everything’s been downhill from there. Now, if you want to stretch the definition of sound even more, we can talk about the theta hypothesis. This is the idea that the early proto earth was hit by a mars-sized object, called fea that eventually created the moon.
Now the reason I say that this stretch is the definition of sound is that if we say that sound is the pressure wave traveling through the medium of air? Well, at this point in our history, we probably didn’t have an atmosphere yet so what is stretching the definition? But let’s.
Just let’s just go with it now. The reason why scientists think this happened is because, when we brought stuff back from the moon, the composition of the soil and the rocks from the moon for a striking resemblance to the Earth’s mantle, the moon is also an extremely large size in Proportion to that of Earth, so it’s, not likely that we just caught it in the gravitational well and if we did, it probably would have messed up our orbit a little bit.
So it’s, not that this is the case, but just think for a second about the kinds of pressures and forces involved for two planets to slam into each other. It would have completely turned our entire planet into mantle again.
This has to be the biggest boom in the history of the planet. Earth like anything bigger and the earth. Wouldn’t, be here anymore. Of course, the earth is just a lonely speck and an infinite void. Even the Theia hypothesis and the big picture is nothing compared to supernovas hyper Nova’s.
Neutron stars colliding black holes colliding on September 14th of 2015. The LIGO gravitational wave Observatory record the first gravitational waves. They resulted from a collision of two black holes.
1.4 billion light-years away, each black hole was millions of times the mass of our Sun and when they collided the energy they released in the final twenty milliseconds was 50 times more than all the light produced by all the stars in the observable universe, and we actually Do have a sound rendering of this, and it sounds like this just in case you missed, let me replay the single largest explosion ever recorded in human history, ready.
I know breathtaking now, of course, the biggest bang in the universe was probably the Big Bang, and I know that you’re, probably thinking Joe, the Big Bang, doesn’t count what it doesn’t it doesn’t because if you consider sound to be a pressure wave through matter, then this definitely doesn’t count because there was no matter to speak of and it wasn’t so much an explosion, but an expansion of space-time that did Eventually, slow down, but continues to this day, which is why there’s, not really a center to the universe.
All time and space is expanding outwards at all points at all times. So if you are narcissistic and have to think that you are the center of the universe, weirdly you’re kind of right, but the Big Bang did produce an insane amount of force that can still be seen in the microwave background radiation.
Now I know you want to hear, though we’re talking about sounds. Is there any way to hear what the Big Bang sounds like? Well, John Kramer at the University of Washington thinks he figured out a way to do it.
All he had to do was boost the background signal, the microwave background radiation by a hundred septillion times, but he did it. He took the findings of the Planck satellite mappings of the CMB and came up with this.
This is the sound of the Big Bang’ you’. The Big Bang was pretty much the ultimate bass drum, so sound gets pretty complicated, actually from microscopic variations and air densities to shock waves that can obliterate entire planets.
We’ve, been able to take this information and give a better understanding of our universe through it. Plus it’s, just fun to make things go boom. It’s. Maybe now, when you hear the rustling of leaves or a shotgun blast off in the distance, you’ll have a better understanding of what you’re hearing and and how it all works.
See knowledge is fun. Gives you a lot more of those Oh moments? If you get a kick out of those Oh moments, you really want to check out the physics of the everyday course that you can find on brilliant.
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