The loudest sound in recorded history was the eruption of Krakatoa. It was so loud the sound wave traveled the world 7 times, was heard in 50 different locations around the world, and caused permanent hearing loss of those close to it. It also darkened the sky worldwide for years afterwards.

1883 eruption of Krakatoa

The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa (Indonesian: Letusan Krakatau 1883) in the Sunda Strait began on the afternoon of Sunday, 26 August 1883—with origins as early as that May—and peaked on the late morning of Monday, 27 August 1883, when over 70% of the island of Krakatoa and its surrounding archipelago were destroyed as it collapsed into a caldera.

The eruption was one of the deadliest and most destructive volcanic events in recorded history and explosions were so violent that they were heard 3,110 kilometres (1,930 mi) away in Perth, Western Australia, and Rodrigues near Mauritius, 4,800 kilometres (3,000 mi) away. At least 36,417 deaths are attributed to the eruption and the tsunamis it created. The sound was claimed to be heard in 50 diff… Continue Reading (12 minute read)

14 thoughts on “The loudest sound in recorded history was the eruption of Krakatoa. It was so loud the sound wave traveled the world 7 times, was heard in 50 different locations around the world, and caused permanent hearing loss of those close to it. It also darkened the sky worldwide for years afterwards.”

  1. QuietGanache

    Interestingly, the sound wave only managed 3.5 times around the world (while it was detectable, people weren’t heaving bangs every few hours) but it was recorded at locations around the globe seven times because every other pass was the pressure wave coming around the globe from the *other* side (imagine a circle expanding from ground zero and meeting at the antipode then expanding from there).

  2. stanley_leverlock

    *The pressure wave was recorded on* [*barographs*]( *all over the world. Several barographs recorded the wave seven times over the course of five days: four times with the wave travelling away from the volcano to its* [*antipodal point*](*, and three times travelling back to the volcano.*[*\[6\]*](*:63 Hence, the wave rounded the globe three and a half times.*

    It was registered on barometers all over the planet. The shockwave circled the entire planet multiple times. When I first read about his as a kid it blew my mind.

  3. randomredditor12345

    People don’t get how absurdly loud krakatoa was or how quickly DBs tend to scale due their logarithmic nature

    At a distance of

    10 miles – closest populated town (Anjer) at the time – sound level (calculated assuming ideal conditions for transmission of sound through air) was 216 dB (over 10 times louder than threshold of instantaneous death)

    40 miles – ships reported rupturing of crews eardrums

    100 miles – 1 foot thick concrete walls cracked apart, barometers indicate 190 dB

    3100 miles – people reported hearing “far off gunfire” 4 HOURS LATER (3100 mi/ ~767 mph = ~4.04… hrs)

    Just to give you an idea of how loud various “sounds” are

    -9 dB Quietest room on earth (EDIT- as of a few years ago anyways- microsoft now apparently has a -20dB room)(can induce hallucinations- ~~record for one person inside is 45 min~~)

    0 dB Threshold of hearing

    15 dB A pin dropping from 1 cm at 1 meter away

    60 dB Normal conversation

    85 dB Prolonged exposure will cause hearing damage

    116 dB Human body begins to perceive vibration from low frequencies

    120 db train horn at one meter

    127dB Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) begins. Permanent hearing loss

    133 dB Gunshot

    140 dB Threshold of pain, human throat and vocal cord resonance occurs

    145dB Vision blurs due to eyeball vibration

    155dB Experience cooling from excited air movement, up to 15 degree C perceived cooling

    174dB Air begins to heat up due to compression

    177dB 2 pound per square inch

    191dB 1 lb. bomb or grenade at blast epicentre

    195dB Human eardrums rupture

    202dB Death from sound wave (shock) alone.

    213dB Sonic boom generates approximately 1.2 gigawatts power equivalent

    235.19dB Earthquake measuring a 5.0 on the Richter scale

    248dB Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Total disintegration of 16 square miles, wind was around 300 miles per hour (same as category 5 tornado), destroyed 28” thick concrete walls at 1 mile distance. Leaving a crater 633 feet wide and 80 feet deep

    310dB Krakatau volcanic eruption 1883. Cracked one foot thick concrete at 300 miles, created a 300+ foot tsunami, and heard 3100 miles away, sound pressure caused barometers to indicate 190db at 100 miles. Rocks thrown to a height of 34 miles.

    429.27 dB starquake on SGR 1806-20 – at 10 LY (632,411 AUs) would destroy ozone layer, and trigger mass extinction – roughly = to a 12 KT blast at 7.5 km (little boy = 15 KT)

  4. blissbali2020

    The eruption caused climate change in the north atmosphere.

    I live in Indonesia. Anak Krakatau (“anak” means child in bahasa Indonesia) is the newly formed volcano inside the crater of Krakatoa since this major event. We got a deadly tsunami in 2018 and 2019 and last April 2020, anak Krakatoa erupted too!

  5. HuskOfAnOnian

    When I hear krakatoa I think of that spongebob episode

  6. SirBobson

    “Some of the pyroclastic flows reached the Sumatran coast as much as 40 km (25 mi) away, having apparently moved across the water on a cushion of superheated steam.”

  7. Uppercasenumber

    There’s other interesting parts of this story. Some historians think that the famous painting The Scream is actually based off of/set during 1883 due to how the sky seems distorted and fiery. On top of that, Krakatoa is actually one of the first major world events that took place after telegrams became widespread so it was a very quickly propagated news story, compared to most events before it.

  8. LetThemHearOurHearts

    apparently the world renowned painting “The Scream” was possibly inspired by this event

  9. RaphtotheMax5

    Krakatoa is such a great word

  10. Diplodocus114

    There was a film made about it “Krakatoa, East of Java”. However Krakatoa is actually WEST of Java.

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