Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-02-2019, 06:51 PM
Love Rhombus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: The suburbs of Innsmouth
Posts: 4,439

How much mass is needed to have a booming footstep?


In kaiju movies and really anything with a huge being, you'll get the thunderous sound of their footsteps along with maybe things moving and car alarms going off. How large do you have to be for the sound of your steps to be audible from a distance?
__________________
unhappy are they that hear some old god speak while he sleeps being still deep in slumber
  #2  
Old 08-02-2019, 07:38 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 84,439
Audible to whom, from what distance? You can make the answer anything you want, by tweaking those numbers.
  #3  
Old 08-02-2019, 08:27 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan's Avatar
Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
zymolosely polydactile
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Slithering on the hull
Posts: 27,244
Depends a LOT on the characteristics of the surface one is stepping on.
  #4  
Old 08-02-2019, 09:13 PM
CookingWithGas's Avatar
CookingWithGas is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Tysons Corner, VA, USA
Posts: 13,266
An elephant can weigh 6 tons. I've been at zoos where elephants are walking around making no more sound than cat. An elephant is the largest land animal, so anything you're seeing in a movie is hyped up for the effect, not a realistic depiction. Think about the energy it takes to create even a low-level seismic tremor. A single animal just couldn't do that.

A herd of stampeding elephants might create ground vibrations that could be detected from a long distance, but not with a human ear through the air.
__________________
Making the world a better place one fret at a time.
| | |會 |會 |會 |會 | |:| | |會 |會
  #5  
Old 08-02-2019, 09:39 PM
am77494 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,669
Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
An elephant can weigh 6 tons. I've been at zoos where elephants are walking around making no more sound than cat.
I read somewhere that Elephants can hear with their feet and communicate with each other by making sounds with their feet.
  #6  
Old 08-02-2019, 10:15 PM
Duckster's Avatar
Duckster is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 14,656
Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
An elephant can weigh 6 tons. I've been at zoos where elephants are walking around making no more sound than cat.

One of my cats weight 18 pounds. When she comes down the wooden stairs she sounds like a herd of elephants. Yet when she jumps on the bed at night, she's silent and light as a feather on her feet, until she plops down on my chest.
  #7  
Old 08-03-2019, 08:40 AM
Shagnasty is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 27,416
Whatever my upstairs neighbor weighs. I am always amazed at how much noise some people make when they walk. It makes me want to give them a scholarship to finishing school.
  #8  
Old 08-03-2019, 09:20 AM
Bear_Nenno's Avatar
Bear_Nenno is online now
Endowment Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Bavaria
Posts: 8,863
Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
An elephant can weigh 6 tons. I've been at zoos where elephants are walking around making no more sound than cat. An elephant is the largest land animal, so anything you're seeing in a movie is hyped up for the effect, not a realistic depiction.
Yet, on the other end of the scale, we have this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VN_WzpQgDtY
  #9  
Old 08-03-2019, 02:46 PM
Disheavel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,545
This is a video of some elephants I just filmed on safari in Zambia two weeks ago. You can hear the leaves crunching but to the previous posters' point, they are utterly silent... creepily so. They actually woke us up with their chewing, but it wasn't loud, it was just the loudest part about them.

That being said, I am a near 300# dude and my wife and child are less than half my size, but I walk silently in comparison. I attribute it to stronger calf muscles and being more athletic early in life and generally. We had some contractors in our basement once who burst out laughing when they saw me appear because they couldn't figure out who could have been walking overhead as the footsteps were so light and they knew that my wife and 6 year old daughter had left. So they assumed I was <6 years old and very small and left alone. Then we all had a good chuckle about how loudly they walk.


So, I think as the parrot proved upthread, booming is more about intent than size.
  #10  
Old 08-03-2019, 03:27 PM
Hilarity N. Suze is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Denver
Posts: 7,963
Well, I am small and not particularly heavy. However, I am a tap dancer. I can make a LOT of noise when I walk, even without my tap shoes on. Even barefoot. It's all about the strike. The ground isn't gonna shake, but you'll hear me coming.

I also have two cats. When the two of them get going the ground could shake. Also, they've knocked over chairs. As kitttens, they did this. More than once. Even though cats notably do not have a lot of mass.
  #11  
Old 08-03-2019, 05:47 PM
Squink is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Yes
Posts: 20,407
I can make quite a boom on a kettle drum with just one finger.
  #12  
Old 08-03-2019, 06:22 PM
Triskadecamus is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: I'm coming back, now.
Posts: 7,587
A horse makes a sound when running that can be heard from a fair distance, although it would take a fair sized Clydesdale, or Suffolk to get to "booming." Bison, on the other hand make enough vibration to be felt in your feet. (If you are near a bunch that are running, that is.)

Tris
_____________________
Where oh, where are the megafauna of days gone by?
  #13  
Old 08-03-2019, 10:01 PM
Squink is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Yes
Posts: 20,407
Quote:
Originally Posted by Triskadecamus View Post
A horse makes a sound when running that can be heard from a fair distance
How sure are you that sound is not a pair of coconut shell halves being pounded, hollow side down, on a table?
  #14  
Old 08-03-2019, 10:13 PM
running coach's Avatar
running coach is offline
Arms of Steel, Leg of Jello
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Riding my handcycle
Posts: 37,144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squink View Post
How sure are you that sound is not a pair of coconut shell halves being pounded, hollow side down, on a table?
My sound effects servant knows better. They are to be clapped together under appropriate circumstances.
  #15  
Old 08-06-2019, 09:16 AM
TRC4941's Avatar
TRC4941 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: NE Minnesota
Posts: 1,200
I'm not at all large, but you can sure hear me coming. I call myself a heel pounder. It's just the way I walk. My son would always say, "I can always tell when mom comes home. I can hear her walking." And he would be in his upstairs bedroom! I've tried walking differently, but I can't. Of course, if I concentrate on my walking I can walk softly as to not disturb someone, but otherwise, I pound away.

I always think of one of my favorite Seinfeld moments:

Elaine was complaining about a guy at work that was always hovering and sidling up to her. She says she's going to give him a taste of his own medicine and sidle up to him.

Jerry: You, sidle? You.....you stomp around like a Clydesdale!
  #16  
Old 08-06-2019, 10:56 AM
BrotherCadfael is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Vermont
Posts: 10,268
When I was an obnoxious teenager, I was able to modify my walk anywhere from "footsteps of a mouse" to "footprints of an elephant" with little visible difference. I would use this ability to annoy people or not as I saw fit.
  #17  
Old 08-14-2019, 07:55 AM
Maus Magill is offline
Not a real doctor.
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Nolensville, TN
Posts: 7,295
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze View Post
Well, I am small and not particularly heavy. However, I am a tap dancer. I can make a LOT of noise when I walk, even without my tap shoes on. Even barefoot. It's all about the strike. The ground isn't gonna shake, but you'll hear me coming.
I would concur. The same five pound bunny who quietly runs about my living room when he's happy will make an earth shattering ka-boom when he thumps.
  #18  
Old 08-14-2019, 08:12 PM
Lumpy's Avatar
Lumpy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota US
Posts: 16,518
In real life large heavy things hitting the ground tend to make an almost subsonic <whump!>. The Hollywood cliche is largely due to the limitations of theater sound systems; you'll almost never hear realistic gunfire for the same reason.
  #19  
Old 08-14-2019, 08:46 PM
HMS Irruncible is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 8,291
To me, a reasonable approximation would be when the tree cutters dropped a 20'x7' poplar log on my lawn while removing the tree. I experienced that as a dinosaur-sized boom and was thankful to be elsewhere.

Hard to estimate a weight... maybe 2 tons or so, dropped from about 20 feet?
  #20  
Old 08-15-2019, 09:05 AM
TRC4941's Avatar
TRC4941 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: NE Minnesota
Posts: 1,200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maus Magill View Post
I would concur. The same five pound bunny who quietly runs about my living room when he's happy will make an earth shattering ka-boom when he thumps.
Same with cats. Not a sound when walking, but they sound like a herd of buffalo when they're zooming around the house like they're possessed.
  #21  
Old 08-15-2019, 09:10 AM
kanicbird is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 19,520
A fellow hiker claimed that a moose ran by him and it felt like a freight train from the ground vibration. From that I take it is not only the weight but the striking force/speed and foot's ability to absorb the shock. The elephant example has a much different foot then a moose.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:58 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017