This blog post was updated on July 26, 2021.
If you need some help finding a peaceful getaway or assistance in pinpointing the rowdiest locale to check out, then you’re probably going to want to use the above map (provided by the American Association for the Advancement of Science) for your next travel planning session. The regions with the least amount of noise (below 20 decibels) are colored the darkest blue, while the areas that were determined to be the loudest (55 decibels are higher) are the brightest and lightest yellow.
The map was put together by collecting over a million hours of acoustic data from across the United States, which was then plugged into a computer algorithm that took into account additional info like traffic and air to create a countrywide estimate of noise levels on an average summer day. It was presented on Monday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in San Jose, California, specifically at a session on the measuring of manmade noise and light to determine their effect on all forms of life, from wild animals to humans.
According to Science Magazine, the National Parks Service will use the map to determine areas where the racket of humanity is having a detrimental effect on nature.
So just where are the most soundless places in America? Well, based on the darkest blue spots, the dogleg of national parks that run along the Sierra Nevada mountain range (along California’s eastern border), including Death Valley and Yosemite, seems to cut an impressive silencing swath up and down the country. The Nevada desert also appears to be an oasis of dark, quiet blue, as well as Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park and Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park. Mmmm…there seems to be a shared theme to all those locations, did you notice?
As for the loudest areas in America, there’s no real shock that each deafening bright yellow point matches to a famed urban area. All the major cites are blaringly obvious. Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, etc. Although, there were some noticeable disparities to the map’s documented earsplitting areas and some cities’ reputation. Las Vegas is a smallish dot, New Orleans is barely noticeable, and Houston is apparently WAY more active (at least noise-wise) than we were led believe.
Notice any interesting geographic connections in the map? Point it out in the comments section below.