February 19

Map of Quiet in Continental U.S. Photo Credit: NPS Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division. Photo Credit: NPS Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division

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The Sound of Silence

Looking for some peace and quiet? Head to the darkest blue spots on the map (see a larger version here). Those are the quietest places in the continental United States on an average summer day, according to a new study by the National Park Service and other scientists. There you'll find background noise levels below 20 decibels, roughly as quiet as the rest of the continent before Europeans colonized it. (If you're looking for a comparison, a whisper is roughly 30 db.)

The palest yellow areas on the map represent the loudest regions; at 55–67 db, they're only slightly quieter than the constant sound of a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner.

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