Loudest animal in the ocean
Last updated: December 21, 2019 at 18:59 pm
The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) produces focalized clicks that reach levels up to 236 decibels underwater, which is loud enough to burst a scuba diver’s eardrums. One of the deafening clicks lasts only 100 microseconds. The whistle of the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus), which lasts from 10 to 30 seconds, can reach up to 188 decibels and can be heard for hundreds of miles underwater. By comparison, a jackhammer reaches approximately 100 decibels, and NASA’s Saturn V rocket, which blasted the first Apollo moon astronauts into orbit, reached up to 204 decibels.
Reidenberg, JS; Laitman, JT. 2007. Discovery of a low frequency sound source in Mysticeti (baleen whales): anatomical establishment of a vocal fold homolog. Anatomical Record. 290 (6): 745–59.
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Jeffrey Gallant is the Editor-in-Chief and Records Keeper of the Diving Almanac. He is also a contributing editor of DIVER Magazine, and the scientific director of the Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group (GEERG). Jeffrey started diving in 1982.