What Is The Loudest Sound Ever Recorded?

On 27th August 1883, the Indonesian volcanic island of Krakatoa erupted with such devastating force that it tore the island apart, ruptured the eardrums of sailors 40 miles away and could even be heard 3,000 miles away in Mauritius.

The pressure wave from the fourth and final explosion generated 310 decibels and was so powerful that a barometer 100 miles away recorded a spike of 172 dB. It continued to be detected by barometers worldwide as it circled the globe three and a half times at 766 mph over the next five days.

To put this into context, long term hearing damage occurs at 140 dB, vision blurs at 145 dB, compression is felt at 150 dB as if underwater, glass shatters at 163 dB, fog is generated at 172 dB as moisture drops out of the air, and 202 dB can be lethal.

The combined effects of pyroclastic flows, volcanic ashes, and tsunamis not only devastated the local region but affected the world at large. Such was the impact that average global temperatures dropped by 1.2°C in the following year and weather conditions remained chaotic until 1888.