The sound heard round and round the world

It doesn’t get much louder than an erupting volcano: the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 registered a recorded sound pressure level of 172 decibels at a distance of 100 miles, not so much loud as completely debilitating. Nautilus Magazine examines the unique acoustics of the Krakatoa eruption, which spawned the most distantly audible sound in recorded history. Not only was the eruption audible over 3,000 miles away, the resulting pressure pulse was detectable for days as it circled and recircled the globe.

To get a sense of what that sort of pressure disturbance really means, try this recent video of a volcanic eruption in Papua New Guinea:

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