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Very loud noise

  [vote for,

I was recently watching a documentary about Krakatoa. Not only has the place moved (it isn't East of Java), but it was also purportedly the loudest noise ever heard by human ears.

This simply isn't good enough. It puts human ingenuity to shame, if the most extreme of anything is a natural phenomenon. We don't tolerate it for speed (except for light), tensile strength or coldness. So it's really time to see if we can't improve on Krakatoa.

What I propose, therefore, is a national effort (preferably by Belgium, since they deserve to be known for at least one thing) to create the loudest sound ever heard on Earth.

Of course, a big enough nuclear bomb detonated in a large dustbin would be the obvious way to go, but that's far too simplistic and, besides, Belgium does not possess dustbins.

Therefore, I think we should go for the loudest *sustained* sound ever heard on Earth.

In the first instance, I think that some sort of vast, megalithic vuvuzela might be the way to go. Propulsion would have to come from enormous reservoirs of compressed air - possibly created by hollowing out large areas of the Earth's crust directly beneath Belgium. Mine shafts would connect these reservoirs to the instrument itself, which would either occupy a considerable portion of Belgium or (and this is the clever bit) could also be sculpted directly out of the bedrock.

With some clever musicogeological engineering, I am sure that a stratum of granite could be used as the main resonator in the instrument.

Obviously, the instrument would need some form of bell or horn to project the sound; this would have to be carved into the ground as a massive conical depression, or could in theory be constructed above ground from reinforced concrete. Given the size of the bell, and the fact that it would probably point upward, it would be important to plan this as a summer project when significant rainfall is not expected.

Scaling laws suggest that the frequency of such an instrument might be below the threshold of human hearing. Howevertheless, it should be possible to monitor the success and amplitude of this device using balloon-tethered pressure gauges. Alternatively, large flocks of birds could be released above the instrument; the infrasound waves would then be made visible as compression and rarefaction of the birds.

P.S. Once Belgium accomplishes this feat, other nations will be queueing up to exceed it. For countries on tectonic plate boundaries (especially subduction zones, where one plate is diving under another instead of just sliding sideways against it), it ought to be possible to construct long parallel artificial mountain ranges along the fault line. Subduction would then produce a phenomanally low- frequency, high-amplitude sound. If commercial sponsorship is needed, the mountain ranges could be of a spacing and profile such that they played the sponsor's sound-logo over a period of several tens of millions of years.

MaxwellBuchanan, May 29 2015

Massage http://en.wikipedia...dium_Is_the_Massage
Apparently one of those serendipitous typos that was allowed to stay - like the one which re-titled "A Clockwork Orang". [pertinax, Jun 01 2015]

http://hitchhikers..../wiki/Disaster_Area [hippo, Jun 01 2015]


       How do they define "loudest"? Because there is a functional upper limit to volume, which is the point where the rarefaction portion of the sound wave is perfect vacuum (194 dB at STP).
MechE, May 29 2015

       //How do they define "loudest"?//   

       Presumably one also has to consider the positive pressure at the peaks of the sound wave; a limit there would be imposed by the tendency of air to liquify at high enough pressures.   

       There's also the question of distance from the source. Krakatoa was allegedly heard in England. Therefore, it might be necessary to set up monitoring stations around the world.   

       In any case, my definition of "loudest" is "like Krakatoa but more".
MaxwellBuchanan, May 29 2015

       I don’t think Krakatoa was the loudest thing that nature has done. The origin of the universe, commonly known as the Big Bang, was, by all accounts, a big bang — maybe the biggest. What you’d have to do is beat that, probably by origining another universe, only bigger.
Ian Tindale, May 29 2015

       //Krakatoa was allegedly heard in England//   

       Have you considered the fact that this was not the loudness of Krakatoa, more the astounding sensitivity of some of England's most talented killjoys? Like the Princess and the Pea, only with moany old battleaxes and social gatherings of Macclesfield's more sophisticated teenagers.
bs0u0155, May 29 2015

       //the Big Bang, was, by all accounts, a big bang//   

       Ah, yes, but that happened in space. And in space, no-one can hear you.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 29 2015

       If, after construction of such a large soundermaker, Yellowstone decides to go up, will we have hollowed out Belgium for nothing?
bs0u0155, May 29 2015

       Is here the place to talk about what Belgium is known for?
4and20, May 30 2015

       By all means.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 30 2015

       Well, we say that in space nobody can hear you, but I don’t think that’s entirely true. Partly because we’re fooled into thinking that acoustics depend on air transmission, and there’s no air and therefore no mechanical medium for acoustic signals. Partly because all the films we’ve seen (particularly the ones with space scenes in them, not so much the cowboy films or historical rom-coms) have a scene where the audio is either cut for the EVA long shots, or replaced with a music bed over dramatic silence.   

       I think it should be possible to detect acoustic effects through space, even though science tells us that it’s impossible. This is one of many of those instances where we think it’s impossible but we’re really not trying hard enough. We should be able to detect evidence of sound transmission through space, if only we tried harder.
Ian Tindale, May 30 2015

       It needs to say BOOOOHHHH!!!
xenzag, May 30 2015

       //detect acoustic effects through space// The laser signal bounced off the reflectors on the moon (when people could go to the moon) contains seismic sound information.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 30 2015

       <pedant> Loudness is a perceptual term, indicating psycho- acoustically perceived sound amplitude. The physical correlate is acoustic amplitude, usually measured as sound pressure, or the logarithmic Sound Pressure level (SPL.) </pedant>   

       So, a Very Loud Noise will be observer dependent, up to but not including the death of the observer.
csea, May 30 2015

       Yes. However, the Very Loud Noise about which we are talking here will just be loud, period. It will be so loud that, even if there is no-one there to hear it, it will still cause trees to fall over.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 30 2015

       How about a very lout noise - oi!..... or a very loud nose, or a fairy louse noise... eeeek.
xenzag, May 30 2015

       Body odor?   

       I'm pretty certain liquid is an effective medium to transmit sound in.
RayfordSteele, May 30 2015

       Sadly liquids also suffer abrupt limits in wave energy transmission due to the tendency to cavitate.
WcW, May 31 2015

       If the outer bounds of our atmosphere were to be considered as a spherical diaphragm, and other planets with atmospheres were similarly diaphragm- like in acoustic behaviour, then all it takes is some other transmission medium in-between the two planets to be able to “hear” interplanetarily. What is that medium? Well, that’s an entirely different question.
Ian Tindale, May 31 2015

       //what's the medium?// - the message of course.
xenzag, May 31 2015

       To avoid the vacuum/cavitation limit, pressurise the whole system. Probably Jupiter would be useful at this point.   

       // Given the size of the bell // Whistle?
Ling, May 31 2015

       // pressurise the whole system//   

       Actually that's not a bad idea.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 31 2015

       ////what's the medium?// - the message of course.//   

       sp. massage   

       See link.
pertinax, Jun 01 2015

       Baked (in fiction) - weren't Disaster Area's concerts the loudest sounds ever made (see link)?
hippo, Jun 01 2015

       Vuvuzubla's are Belgian?   

       Also: Question - if the Belgians make the loudest noise ever, but everybody goes deaf and nobody ever hears it, was that sound a sound?
pashute, Jun 01 2015

       //Presumably one also has to consider the positive pressure at the peaks of the sound wave//   

       Not really. Once you have a vaccum in the rarefied portion, the pressure portion maxes out as well. Anything beyond that point becomes a single shock wave, pushing the air in front of it, rather than vibrating.
MechE, Jun 01 2015

       One approach could be to have multiple simultaneous volcano eruptions worldwide. A further step may be to modulate this combined volcano carrier signal with the sound of something even louder.
Ian Tindale, Jun 03 2015

       The big bang was audible; see: microwave background radiation.
pocmloc, Jun 03 2015

       an explosion big enough to cause the entire universe to heat up 3 degrees is pretty loud.
bs0u0155, Jun 03 2015

       //what's the medium?//   

       Isn't the whole point to have a large?
AusCan531, Jun 04 2015


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