We’re lucky, you and I, as we sit here on our wet, rocky orb, careening around the Sun’s gravity well like a roulette ball refusing to pick a number. It’s nice out here on the goldilocks ellipse.
Ever wonder what would happen if a giant space finger suddenly brought Earth’s solar orbit to a screeching halt? If your intuition says “bad stuff”, then you’re on the right track.
Aatish Bhatia has written an informative and frightening account of Earth’s final 64.5 days, and since we’ve just completed another trip around our life-giving hydrogen fusion reactor, it’s a good time to remember why we shouldn’t take Earth’s forever fall for granted.
At 10:02 AM on August 27th, 1883, a volcanic island in modern day Indonesia called Krakatoa erupted. The blast sent shockwaves across the ocean, triggering tsunamis that destroyed the coast of Java and Sumatra. The sound was so loud it was heard 3000 miles away.
As Aatish Bhatia notes in this recent article: “What we’re talking about here is like being in Boston and clearly hearing a noise coming from Dublin, Ireland.”
Barometric readings at the time clocked the sound pressure at 172 decibels ONE HUNDRED MILES AWAY from the island.
Here’s a handy reference:
Using a jackhammer – 100 decibels
Human threshold for pain – 130 dB
Standing next to a jet engine – 150 dB
And the scale is logarithmic - so a 10 dB increase doubles the loudness.
Volcanoes seem to be a common topic these days. Yesterday Nautilus published a great piece by Aatish Bhatia on the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, which tore the island apart and unleashed a sound so loud it was heard more than 4800 km away:
The British ship Norham Castle was 40 miles from Krakatoa at the time of the explosion. The ship’s captain wrote in his log, “So violent are the explosions that the ear-drums of over half my crew have been shattered. My last thoughts are with my dear wife. I am convinced that the Day of Judgement has come.“
In general, sounds are caused not by the end of the world but by fluctuations in air pressure. A barometer at the Batavia gasworks (100 miles away from Krakatoa) registered the ensuing spike in pressure at over 2.5 inches of mercury. That converts to over 172 decibels of sound pressure, an unimaginably loud noise. To put that in context, if you were operating a jackhammer you’d be subject to about 100 decibels. The human threshold for pain is near 130 decibels, and if you had the misfortune of standing next to a jet engine, you’d experience a 150 decibel sound. (A 10 decibel increase is perceived by people as sounding roughly twice as loud.) The Krakatoa explosion registered 172 decibels at 100 miles from the source. This is so astonishingly loud, that it’s inching up against the limits of what we mean by “sound.” #
Those are some mindbogglingly enormous numbers. Aatish does a wonderful job of explaining the science behind an explosion whose effects ricocheted through the atmosphere for days afterward. Check out the full article over at Nautilus. (Image credit: Parker & Coward, via Wikipedia)
7 stages of love 3. عشق -Ishq - love “Ishq par zor nahin, hai yeh woh aatish Ghalib Ja lagaye na lage, aur bujhaye na bane” Love can’t be tamed, it’s like a fire that overpowers everything else At times, it doesn’t start even after repeated tries; but once started, it’s impossible to extinguish
Writing Right by Jared Diamond
- “Some written languages are a precise reflection of a people’s speech,
while others, like english, are a complete mess. Is this alphabetical
evolution? Or the unequal application of logic to literacy?”
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