Fireworks echo through cellulose and chitin

I recorded the Sewanee annual firework display at a lookout spot across a mountain cove from the detonations. Before the pyrotechnics, the katydids made my ears ring, but the explosions out-shouted even the combined acoustic power of tens of thousands of singing insects.

Here is the finale of the show:

(email subscribers, here is a link to the sound, or click on the page title to go to the site)

If you listen with earphones, you’ll hear the low-frequency roar of the fireworks rushing down through the mountain cove for five long seconds after the blast. From where I sat at the Proctor’s Hall rock, the echo ran from right to left, flowing down, like a dark bird launching from the cliffs to the fields below the cove.

Thank you to the Sewanee Volunteer Fire Department for their annual extravaganza of sound and light.


4 thoughts on “Fireworks echo through cellulose and chitin

  1. giorgiana

    We watched fireworks on a lake we are visiting in New Hampshire this month. It was a beautiful display. However, I worried about all the creatures who live there (a lone loon, the bats, song birds, beaver etc). Are they very disturbed and disrupted by our annual patriotic pyrotechnics? The sound really reverberates off the water. I hope they are able to shake it off and carry on.

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      Good question. I suspect that it freaks them out, but then they get back to life as normal. Thunderstorms can be just as loud and bright, so the fireworks may fit within the range of their experiences?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s