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Looking for a little silence? A new map from the National Park Service may help guide your way to peace and quiet.
Using acoustical data collected from hundreds of sites around the country, the NPS’s Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division created a model of noise and light pollution across the lower 48. The findings, presented at this week’s American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in San Jose, Calif., show that the quietest areas of the country lie west of the Mississippi in sites such as Colorado’s Sand Dunes National Park and California’s eastern Sierra. Noise in these areas (reflected in deep blue, above) registers below 20 decibels, roughly 10,000 times quieter than major metropolitan areas.
Researchers plan to use the data to monitor the effects of manmade noise on wildlife, a longtime concern of wilderness silence advocates.
Read more: Science