How far does sound travel underwater?

In summary, the distance that sound travels underwater depends on the level of absorption, with lower absorption resulting in greater distance. Sound also travels faster through water than air due to its higher density. Whales are able to communicate across oceans using very low frequency sounds that can cavitate water.
  • #1
How far does sound travel underwater, and more importantly does it travel further in water than in air? If so why? I know that sound travels faster through water than air for obvious reasons (density), and I intuitively assume further, but I cannot explain why. Any help is appreciated.
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  • #3
This is not explanatory, but whales, using very low frequency sound, can communicate across oceans.

  • #4
To expand a little on what Kenneth Mann said, whales can emit sounds so loud they cavitate water. I have heard it suggested that before the days of motorized ships it would have been possible for a whale at the north pole to have been heard by one at the sourth pole.
  • #5
for your question! The distance that sound can travel underwater depends on a variety of factors, including water temperature, depth, and salinity. In general, sound can travel much further in water than in air due to its higher density and ability to transmit sound waves more efficiently. In fact, sound can travel up to 4.3 times faster in water than in air.

One of the main reasons for this is that water molecules are much closer together than air molecules, allowing them to transfer vibrations more easily. This means that sound waves can travel further without losing energy, resulting in longer distances of transmission.

Another important factor is the temperature of the water. As water gets colder, its molecules become more tightly packed, making it an even better conductor of sound. This is why sound can travel even further in colder water, such as in the deep ocean.

Additionally, the depth of the water also plays a role in how far sound can travel. In shallow water, sound waves can bounce off the surface and bottom, causing interference and reducing the distance it can travel. In deeper water, sound can travel in a straight line without any interference, allowing it to reach greater distances.

In summary, sound can travel much further in water than in air due to its higher density, temperature, and lack of interference. This makes it an important mode of communication for marine animals and a useful tool for scientists studying the ocean. I hope this helps answer your question!

1. How does sound travel underwater?

Sound travels through water in the form of pressure waves. When an object vibrates, it creates these waves that travel through the water and can be detected by our ears or other instruments.

2. Does sound travel faster or slower in water compared to air?

Sound travels faster in water than in air, at a speed of about 1,500 meters per second. This is because water is denser than air, allowing sound waves to travel more efficiently.

3. Can sound travel indefinitely underwater?

No, sound cannot travel indefinitely underwater. The intensity of sound decreases as it travels, due to factors such as water temperature, salinity, and depth. Eventually, the sound becomes too faint to be detected.

4. What factors affect the distance sound can travel underwater?

The distance sound can travel underwater is affected by several factors, including water depth, temperature, pressure, and salinity. Sound can also be affected by physical barriers such as underwater terrain or objects.

5. How far can sound travel underwater?

The distance sound can travel underwater varies greatly, but in general, it can travel up to thousands of kilometers. The speed and distance of sound underwater depend on various factors, making it difficult to determine an exact maximum distance.

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