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US Loudest, Quietest Places Easily Spotted on Map of Sounds

Image: US Loudest, Quietest Places Easily Spotted on Map of Sounds
Noise Map. (National Park Service Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division)

By    |   Wednesday, 18 Feb 2015 10:31 AM

New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas are three of the loudest places in the U.S., while Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is among the quietest, according to the Natural Sounds project to create an inventory of sounds at 546 sites around the country.

The Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division of the National Parks System has created a map which uses bright lights to show locations with noise levels of 50 decibels or more, according to CBS News, while its dark blue regions are the quietest, staying below 20 decibels.

The map was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science this week in San Jose, California.

"The Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division uses science, engineering and technology to understand and better manage these spectacular resources," says the division's website. "We pioneer innovative techniques to measure the impact of noise and light pollution, develop new approaches to safeguard natural sounds and natural darkness, and identify management solutions to restore these public resources."

The challenge for the park service is keeping areas like Yellowstone quiet while the way we listen changes dramatically with the rise of cellphones, tablets and other portable devices, said Kurt Fristrup, a senior scientist at the U.S. National Park Service, noted The Guardian.

"This learned deafness is a real issue," Fristrup told the meeting. "We are conditioning ourselves to ignore the information coming into our ears. This gift that we are born with – to reach out and hear things hundreds of meters away, all these incredible sounds – is in danger of being lost through a generational amnesia."

"There is a real danger, both of loss of auditory acuity, where we are exposed to noise for so long that we stop listening, but also a loss of listening habits, where we lose the ability to engage with the environment the way we were built to," said Fristrup.

Park System officials have for the past decade recorded sound levels at Yosemite in California, Yellowstone and Denali in Alaska, noted The Guardian. They said every place was affected in some way by increased human activity, whether by flying aircraft, vehicles, motorboats or tour buses.


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New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas are three of the loudest places in the U.S., while Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is among the quietest, according to the Natural Sounds project to create an inventory of sounds at 546 sites around the country.
us, loudest, quietest, places, map, sounds
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2015-31-18
Wednesday, 18 Feb 2015 10:31 AM
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