5 Loudest Sounds Ever Recorded In Nature

At IAC Acoustics, our noise control solutions normally focus on managing man-made sounds generated by industrial machinery, musical instruments or jet engines. But that’s not to say that humans are the only ones causing a racket on this planet.

Some of the loudest noises ever recorded have been generated by natural phenomena. This article lists five of the most ear-splitting sounds ever recorded in the wild, from exceptionally vociferous animals to epic natural disasters.

The Eruption Of Mount Krakatoa

One of the largest sounds ever recorded was the volcanic eruption on the Indonesian island of Krakatoa in August 1883. The explosive release of lava and gas created an ear-splitting din that reached an incredible 172dB — it was reportedly heard as far as 3,000 miles away. Unsurprisingly, the eruption devastated the island; two-thirds of Krakatoa collapsed into the sea, causing 50m-high tsunami waves that reached as far away as South Africa.

The Tunguska Event

In 1908 a 12-megaton explosion occurred near the Tunguska River in Siberia. The cause? A giant meteor crashing through the earth’s atmosphere in what remains the largest asteroid event in history. The blast released enough energy to flatten an estimated 80 million trees and the shockwaves knocked people off their feet hundreds of miles away. Thankfully, it happened in a sparsely populated area. Scientists believe the noise level reached over 300dB, making the eruption of Mount Krakatoa seem like a mouse’s squeak.

Sperm Whales

You probably don’t want to swim too close to one of these giant sea mammals. The clicking sounds made by sperm whales can reach up to 236dB. To put that into context, a jet engine produces a sound of 140 decibels. In fact, the whales’ sea chat is so loud that they can hear each other hundreds, if not thousands of miles away.

Howler Monkeys

You don’t get a name like ‘howler monkey’ by making soft, soothing sounds. These Central and South American primates are thought to be the loudest land animals, capable of bellowing at volumes of 140dB — that’s on a par with gunshots or fireworks.

Pistol Shrimps

Pound for pound, these cacophonous crustaceans may be the loudest creatures on earth. The pistol shrimp is just two inches long but its snapping claw is so powerful it generates a bubble that makes a sound of up to 210dB when it implodes. That’s enough to stun its prey, so all that’s left to do is attack and feed on the hapless victim. And if that doesn’t make you glad you’re not a sea creature, nothing will.

IAC Acoustics is proud to offer acoustic and noise control solutions to a wide range of people and businesses. Get in touch to find out how we can help you manage noise control challenges safely and effectively.

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