Loudest Sound Ever Heard
The Krakatoa Volcano
The loudest sound in recorded history occurred on August 27, 1883, just off the coast of Jakarta, Indonesia.
A volcano on the small island of Krakatoa was undergoing the cataclysmic stage of its months-long eruption. At 10:20 AM the volcano exploded with a sound heard, literally, around the world.
Scientists estimated the explosion’s sound to be around 180 decibels, which is a great enough force to instantly kill all hearing tissue within a human ear.
For comparison, 180dB is about 13x as loud as a jet engine from 100 ft, or as loud as a rifle shot at point blank range. People 2,200 miles away in Perth, Australia could clearly hear the eruption immediately after the explosion.
The explosion spewed a cloud of lava and ash that killed all 3,000 people living on an island 8 miles away. Tsunami waves caused by the volcano crested at over 100 ft.
The eruption sent a shockwave of energy that traveled around the world approximately 7 times and registered on measurement instruments for 5 days after the eruption.
Tsunami waves reached the coast of South Africa over 8,000 miles away, and smaller waves registered on tidal meters as far away as the English Channel.
However, the English waves occurred too soon after the explosion to be remnants of the tsunami. Scientists believe these disturbances were instead a result of air displacement caused by the sound of the eruption.
To learn more, go to What Is Sound?