How Black Bolt Shatters Mountains with Sound! (Because Science w/ Kyle Hill)
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How Black Bolt Shatters Mountains with Sound! (Because Science w/ Kyle Hill)


– I like superpowers that
are odd, but understandab– I like superpowers that are
odd, but understandable. Take sound powers. Some superheroes have the
ability to speak so epically that they can incapacitate
enemies and destroy objects. That at least makes sense, we know that different orders of magnitude of sound can have profound
effects on objects like glass, but how loud would a superhero have to be to destroy something like a mountain? The most famous superheroes
with destructive voices are Black Canary, Banshee, and Black Bolt, though Black Bolt is
arguably the most powerful. The iconic king of Marvel’s Inhumans, his voice is so powerful
that he chooses not to speak because of what it would do. One example that I want to focus on is in this panel from
Black Bolt Volume One, Hard Time, where it
said that a single word from this character
could shatter mountains. How could sound possibly do this? And if it could, how
loud would it have to be? First, though, let’s precisely
define what sound is. If I were to yell right now, what would you actually be hearing? Well, when air leaves my lungs, (shouts) that air pushes on molecules in its way. That pushing creates little
bunches of air molecules, and these bunches now have some energy. That energy takes them through the air, rolling along like waves
on the surface of an ocean, and once those waves reach something like the shore of your ear, that
energy vibrates your eardrum that your brain interprets
chemically and electrically as the sensory experience that is sound. (shouting)
Wow, that is annoying. I’m gonna keep doing it. The most common measurement
for sound that you will see is probably decibel, or 1/10th of a bel, named after smart boy
Alexander Graham Bell. It is a unit that
relates power or pressure as a ratio and puts that ratio on a so-called logarithmic scale, and logarithmic scales are
basically just mathematical ways to shrink and squeeze numbers. We wanna do that because the human ear is sensitive to an
incredible range of sound. Because of the math, an
increase in 10 decibels is an increase of an order of magnitude, or a factor of 10, in the
power or pressure ratio of a sound. So, for example, 100 decibels isn’t 10 times louder than 10 decibels, it is a billion times louder. The human ear is sensitive to sounds that are trillions of times
apart in power or pressure. It’s our most sensitive sense And I guess, I guess ASMR videos are
somewhere around here. So, a few decibels, oh. But, what does this
sound range sound like? Well, the reference
point for zero decibels is the sound power that
a mosquito puts out if it were flying three meters a– Ow, three meters away from you. 10 decibels is what a
human breath sounds like. (breathing) 60 decibels is the
sound a hairdryer makes, and 128 decibels is the loudest
human scream ever recorded. R.I.P. headphone users. (inhales) Just kidding, but
that’s where the pain threshold for sound starts. At 153 decibels, the sound energy alone is enough to vibrate your
vocal cords in your throat to make swallowing difficult. And at 200 decibels, that’s what a Saturn 5 launch sounds like, and it’s loud enough to kill you with its sound energy alone, but we’ll get to that a little bit later, and we’re not even in
Black Bolt territory. (screams) From sources of sound power come what we actually feel, sound pressure. At a little over 194 decibels, the pressure waves from a sound are at atmospheric pressure,
and so any sound waves above this value become distorted and dangerous when traveling
through Earth’s atmosphere. A blast wave. Now, we’re talking. (shouts) For our purposes, the
pressure waves that we need are gonna come from massive explosions. This one was called Cannikin and it was the largest
underground nuclear explosion the U.S. ever tested. When it detonated, the
ground lifted six meters, and then shook like it
was experiencing a 7.0 earthquake, and it shattered
the surrounding mountains. Looks epic enough for Blackagar Boltagon, his real name. Explosions like this are in the 250 decibel range. So, if Black Bolt opened his mouth and this kind of sound came out, and all of that sound went perfectly into the mountain, let’s say
he was almost close enough to touch the mountain with his mouth, then he would have a pretty
good chance at cracking it, just like the comics say. But, sound power is dependent on time. Even if a Saturn 5 rocket
is loud enough to kill you, if it only emitted that
sound for a nanosecond, you’d be fine standing right next to it. So, if Black Bolt’s
mountain-shattering word took one second to say, crack, then it would be a nuclear-bomb amount of energy in total, like we said, but what if he kept talking? (shouts) If Black Bolt recited my favorite scientifically-minded speech, Carl Sagan’s pale blue dot speech, for a little over three
and a half minutes, then the total amount of
energy leaving his face would be the same amount
that a hurricane puts out in four seconds. In 2016, according to The Guinness Book of
World Records, though, Ashwin Sudani spoke nonstop for over 75 hours, and if he did that, the amount of energy that Black
Bolt would put out in total would be on-par with the
2004 Indonesian earthquake, and that shortened the
Earth’s day by milliseconds. Up until this point, we’ve
been assuming that Black Bolt can channel all the sound
power that he holds, perfectly into the objects
that he seeks to destroy, but that doesn’t really work
unless he’s close enough to, (smooching) to kiss it. (laughs) In reality, using a sound-based power would be a lot more complicated. When Black Bolt spoke,
if he was on the ground, what would come out
wouldn’t be a perfect beam. It would be closer to an
expanding hemisphere of sound, and as this hemisphere expanded, the sound pressure would decrease, such that if you were
only 200 meters away, even if Black Bolt had the
voice of a nuclear bomb, you’d be fine. I mean, your eardrums would rupture, but you wouldn’t immediately die. And Black Bolt’s superpowers can be suppressed easier than you think. That’s because powerful sound waves have a lot of trouble switching mediums, like going from air to
water, or from air to rock. (shouts) That’s why NASA puts 300, yep, hundred thousand gallons of water underneath large rocket launches. The water acts to break up the sound waves and absorb some of their energy. If they didn’t do this, a large rocket would
rip the launchpad apart with sound alone, so in theory, you could silence Black Bolt with water. But, of course, it would
have to be a lot of water and it could– That’s enough. Oh, I’m covered in water, oh. Furthermore, mega sound power is one of the least useful abilities for a guy who frequens deep space and the moon. Without a medium full of stuff to transfer sound energy through, like the Earth’s atmosphere, Black Bolt’s sound energy
wouldn’t be able to propagate. In space, as they say, no one can hear you scream. So, how does Black Bolt
crack mountains with sound? How do sound-based
superheroes do any damage? By magically, somehow,
throwing so much air so forcefully out of their mouths that the resulting sound
isn’t really sound, it’s more like a blast
wave that you’d find in a large-scale explosion. To do what we see him do in the comics, Black Bolt would need near-inside-a-nuclear-bomb-like pressures, right behind his lips at all times, and maybe even thousands of
times more pressure than that, given all the caveats that we mentioned. Either way, catastrophe, right here. I get why he stays silent. Hey, do you know that you actually do sound different in a recording? Have you ever listened to yourself, you hear yourself when you speak, and have you ever heard
yourself in a recording? You’re like, “Oh, do I sound like that?” No, you actually don’t. So, when you speak, what you are hearing is filtered through a lot of other stuff. Through the bones of your skull, and your skin and all this nonsense, and it changes the sound that
is your voice that you hear. But, on a recording, it doesn’t
get any of that filtering, it is just your voice filtered
through no skull of yours with its certain shape and stuff. So, you actually do sound
different on a recording and it is always worse. Thank you so much for watching, Amanda. If you like this video, make
sure to like and subscribe, check out Muskwatch, check out The S.P.A.A.C.E. Program on Project Alpha where if you sign up now for a free 30-day trial, you can get this show two
days earlier than anyone else, and follow me here for cool stuff. (laughs) You know what I mean.

100 thoughts on “How Black Bolt Shatters Mountains with Sound! (Because Science w/ Kyle Hill)

  1. The "Kyle is wrong!" FAQ

    1. The line I drew on the graph did not line up perfectly with the numbers I mentioned. My bad. I'm bad a drawing.
    2. I am assuming that BB's sound power can go directly into the mountain or other objects. In reality, a LOT of that energy would be reflected, pushing the decibel requirement way higher.

    Thanks for watching.

    (UPDATING) — KH

  2. I'd love to see you explain how likely Dazzler's powers are and how strong would her body have to be to hold all the sound she stores to convert it into light?

  3. RIP Headphone users GASPS and WINCES expecting to be deafened… and yet… didn't take the head phones OUT.
    BTW I love that you call geniuses "Smart Boy". Makes me giggle each time.

  4. Imagine ….even if a pillar of air would connect Earth and sun ….people on a huge area on Earth would go deaf

  5. that last theory sounds highly probable because you actually retrieve some sound that you recorded and if your voice works try thanking the maker. I actually like my voice and I don't have stage fright. lol.

  6. You always show the what will be to have a super power in real life and why I won't be a good super power to have in real life but what kind of power you think that can be use in real life without some can of inconvenience to your own life or being

  7. Im pretty sure Black Bolt once did scream in space and nearly destroyed a whole galaxy. But it is comics so meh

  8. Can you please do the research about the punches of whitebeard in one piece? Please like this vid for him to see this comment

  9. I have a theory…. like probably if one can produce sound at sub sonic range which causes resonance with the natural frequency of the mountain (considering the mountain is made of one kind of material), the sound can shatter it theoritically… too lazy to do the math behind it…

  10. Not saying anything is wrong just wanted to voice my favourite moment of black bolt… in World war hulk when hulk goes to the moon and kinda says “I didn’t come here to hear you whisper… I came to hear you scream” and the hulk just took black bolts screams. If that’s not an ode to how strong hulk is then idk what is

  11. I think everyone knows that their voice sounds different to themselves on recording as opposed to just hearing themselves speak. When you started that it almost seemed like you were gonna say recordings distort your voice and sound different than what other people hear when you just talk to them normally. Aka you gave me false hope lol, my voice must be annoying as hell

  12. What about frequency? Blasting out a resonant frequency for what you wanted to destroy? Should require much less energy. Then there's infrasound and ultrasonic. Could be a buffet of audio destruction. Maybe he discovered the secret of the "brown note" and adds that for fun, or just uses it at birthday parties. 🤔

  13. You covered sound as intensity. But what about natural frequencies? What if an unspoken ability is to be able to sense what the majority of the object is made of and what their natural frequency is? And they could exactly send out sound waves at those frequencies? They would be able to shatter it that way.

  14. Actually, the average human conversation takes place around 60 dB. 150 dB can cause your eardrum to explode. The minimum range for death-causing sound is between 185 and 200 dB.

  15. Black Bolt is amazing.
    That fact he has a child and is able to stay silent the entire time.
    Let alone accidentally yawn, burp, stub his toe or cuss while getting it on with his queen is amazing…all that self control.

  16. I thought this example of him shattering a mountain was normal speech or a whisper? Pretty sure if he yells, he can destroy planets, right? Correct me if I'm wrong, not familiar with his character all that much

  17. I belive one of the loudest sounds in recorded history is the eruption of a volcano called krakatao at around 310 decibels. Supposedly the eardrums of sailors 40 miles away were ruptured and the shockwave was recorded twice on barometers worldwide because it taveled around the entire planet twice.

  18. He doesn’t just choose not to speak. He rigorously conditioned himself for like ever to not even utter a sound when he sleeps. He may not have had much choice in the matter but still.

  19. arrow tv show black carnery dinah drake sonic scream is at 187 dbs and black siren is at 250 dbs so is black bolt more powerful

  20. But if he can go to 500 decibels, you have a different matter. 1000 or so decibels is said to create a black hole with an event horizon wider than the known universe, which now covers the issue of water or space dampening the sound. It would be Universe imploding levels of energy. If possible. But that's the key.

  21. Blackbolt's whisper is canonically comparable to a nuclear blast in terms of volume. I forget the issue and specific series title, but some Inhuman comic with time shenanigans saw blind Inhuman Reader panicking after Blackbolt's whisper thinking it was a nuclear blast.

  22. And oxygen is a heavy gas. To be able to produce that many decibels of sound, you would have to have some of the strongest/dexterous lungs known to man. Also you would have to be able to control that sound in your vocal chords. You'd have to have a massive neck and tough skin. The frequency of such a loud scream would vibrate your vocal chords so much that your neck would most likely explode, or your lungs would rupture from creating so much pressure. Especially from escaping such a small space such as your mouth. When someone breaks glass from singing, it's not so much from volume, but in resonance. A normal human creates a resonance of about 5-10 Hz. Resonance is caused by vibration. So much vibration would literally rip your body apart. For Black Bolt to do this, He'd have to have some of the strongest skin/tissue ever. He'd basically be unable to die.

  23. A couple things. The antenna he wears helps direct his power. So it does direct it more like a Cone. His whisper was enough to Rock a battleship at sea and shatter the Hulks bones. I think you are reducing what his capable db level is. At one point a cosmic being flinches when he acted like he was going to voice his opinion. I need to go read the Inhumans again, such a good comic.

  24. wait if he can blow up a mountain with a single word what happens if he coughs or maybe rips a fart

  25. This, keep in mind, is if Black Bolt speaks. Imagine if he screamed. He could probably be the rocket for the entire planet then, but it would most likely shatter the planet too.

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