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“A volcano may be considered as a cannon of immense size”*…

 

On August 27, 1883, the Earth let out a noise louder than any it has made since.

It was 10:02 a.m. local time when the sound emerged from the island of Krakatoa, which sits between Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. It was heard 1,300 miles away in the Andaman and Nicobar islands (“extraordinary sounds were heard, as of guns firing”); 2,000 miles away in New Guinea and Western Australia (“a series of loud reports, resembling those of artillery in a north-westerly direction”); and even 3,000 miles away in the Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues, near Mauritius (“coming from the eastward, like the distant roar of heavy guns.”). In all, it was heard by people in over 50 different geographical locations, together spanning an area covering a thirteenth of the globe.

Think, for a moment, just how crazy this is. If you’re in Boston and someone tells you that they heard a sound coming from New York City, you’re probably going to give them a funny look. But Boston is a mere 200 miles from New York. What we’re talking about here is like being in Boston and clearly hearing a noise coming from Dublin, Ireland. Traveling at the speed of sound (766 miles or 1,233 kilometers per hour), it takes a noise about four hours to cover that distance. This is the most distant sound that has ever been heard in recorded history…

More at “The Sound So Loud That It Circled the Earth Four Times.”

(And for a consideration of “the noise beneath the noise,” check out “The Noise at the Bottom of the Universe.”)

Oliver GoldsmithGoldsmith’s Miscellaneous Works (1841), 90

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As we Bring the Noise, we might that it was on this date in 2013 that the eruption of Ecuador’s Tungurahua volcano sent a massive plume of ash, stones, and vapor soaring more than eight miles into the sky above the Andes.

Pyrocumulus clouds soaring high above the Andes due to the eruption of Ecuador’s Tungurahua volcano

source

 

Written by LW

July 19, 2016 at 1:01 am

So graphic!…

Long-time readers know that your correspondent is a sucker for nifty charts, elegant tables, and incisive visual displays of all sorts.  In the spirit of earlier-featured Jessica Hagy/Indexed and Gary Damrauer/New Math, a pointer to GraphJam, where one will find illustrated insights like:

More here.

As we attempt to keep X and Y straight in our minds, we might shudder to recall that it was on this date in 1883 that the volcano at Krakatoa (Krakatau) erupted with full force.  The sound was heard over 2,000 miles away (that’s over 7.5% of the earth’s surface– the equivalent of an explosion in New York City being heard in San Francisco); tsunamis caused by the great blast killed 36,000 people in Java and Sumatra.

But there was another sense in which Krakatoa was importantly “the sound heard ’round the world”:  While news of Lincoln’s assassination (only 18 years earlier) had taken almost two weeks to reach London,  Europe and the U.S. knew of Krakatoa in about four hours.  In the years between 1865 and 1883, there had been three interrelated developments: the global spread of the telegraph, the invention of Morse Code, and the establishment of Reuter’s news agency… and the world had become much smaller.  (C.F., Tom Standage’s marvelous The Victorian Internet for the details– both remarkable and altogether resonant with today.)

(As big as the explosion was, it was not the biggest in history: experts suggest that Santorini’s eruption in 1628 BCE was three times as powerful.)

An early 19th-century illustration of Krakatoa

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Written by LW

August 26, 2009 at 12:01 am

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