Photo from huffpost.com
So many of us have grown up thinking that seashells can mimic ocean sounds, almost like “iPods of the Sea.” But can they, really?
Turns out that when you listen to a shell, you’re not really hearing the sounds of the ocean. The shapes of seashells just happen to make them great amplifiers of ambiant noise. What they’re actually doing is acting as a resonator, or a cavity that allows sound to vibrate. Any air that makes its way into a shell’s cavity gets bounced around by its hard, curved inner surfaces. The resonating air produces sound.
By holding a shell up to your ear, you’re hearing the ambient noise around you amplified. And in many cases, all that whooshing air typically sounds a lot like the movement of cascading waves.
Now don’t you wish you paid more attention in physics class?