New world record set for longest duration echo in a man-made structure

Jan 17, 2014 by Bob Yirka weblog
Hamilton Mausoleum. Credit: Wikipedia

( —The record for the longest duration echo in a man-made structure has been decimated by a single shot from a blank loaded pistol—an amazing 112 seconds. It happened inside an oil storage tank buried in the hard rock of a hillside in the Scottish Highlands. The previous record was a paltry 15 second reverberation in Hamilton Mausoleum in Lanarkshire.

The oil storage tank was one of six buried in the Highlands (at Ross Shire) just prior to Britain's engagement in WWII—they are connected via tunnels and were intended as a storage depot for fuel for warships stationed at nearby Invergordon. The hope was that if Britain entered the war, fuel for the warships would be protected from long range German bombers.

The test was conducted by Allan Kilpatrick, an expert on the history of Inchindown (the official name of the oil storage tank facility) and Professor of Acoustic Engineering Trevor Cox. Kilpatrick fired the pistol about a third of the way into the huge tank, while Cox did the timing from a third of the way from its end. The result was a noise that bounced around inside the tank for close to two minutes before dying out. The long echo has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest ever inside a man-made structure.

The is clearly very large, able to hold over 25 million liters of fuel—it's long too, about twice that of a soccer field. But it's mostly likely the walls that most contribute to the amazingly long echoes—they're 45 centimeters thick.

In speaking with the media, Cox suggested that the unusual acoustics in the tank might possibly lend themselves to musical compositions. His simple experiments yelling while inside the tank suggested that because the reverberations lasted so long, a person could actually harmonize with themselves if they so desired.

Inchindown has not been used as a fuel storage facility for several years—its last known actual use was during the Falklands War in 1982. Today, the site is shuttered and the only people allowed inside are those on scheduled tours.

Explore further: New insights found in black hole collisions

More information: via Independent

Related Stories

Image: Discovery and the Lunar Eclipse

Dec 21, 2010

Space shuttle Discovery waits to roll back from Launch Pad 39A to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the early morning hours of Dec 21, 2010, with the beginning ...

Recommended for you

New insights found in black hole collisions

Mar 27, 2015

New research provides revelations about the most energetic event in the universe—the merging of two spinning, orbiting black holes into a much larger black hole.

X-rays probe LHC for cause of short circuit

Mar 27, 2015

The LHC has now transitioned from powering tests to the machine checkout phase. This phase involves the full-scale tests of all systems in preparation for beam. Early last Saturday morning, during the ramp-down, ...

Swimming algae offer insights into living fluid dynamics

Mar 27, 2015

None of us would be alive if sperm cells didn't know how to swim, or if the cilia in our lungs couldn't prevent fluid buildup. But we know very little about the dynamics of so-called "living fluids," those ...

Fluctuation X-ray scattering

Mar 26, 2015

In biology, materials science and the energy sciences, structural information provides important insights into the understanding of matter. The link between a structure and its properties can suggest new ...

Hydrodynamics approaches to granular matter

Mar 26, 2015

Sand, rocks, grains, salt or sugar are what physicists call granular media. A better understanding of granular media is important - particularly when mixed with water and air, as it forms the foundations of houses and off-shore ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jan 17, 2014
I used to like bouncing stones off the empty oil storage tanks in Port Stanley, Ontario, during summers when I was a kid. The reverberating echo that produced is one of the most unique sounds I've ever heard.
not rated yet Jan 18, 2014
The reverberating sound of a very loud yell, or clap, in a (lake) tanker hull, or even gunshots..was recorded at 30 seconds.

so yes, well over 15 seconds for the previous record.

This was involving a hull that was used as film set for the Jackie Chan film 'tuxedo'. It can be seen in the film as the 'bad guy's headquarters. That was cured and controlled to perfection by and expert in acoustics who does film set work, who is a good friend of mine.

The sound was captured live, off the set floor, which would be considered to be an impossibility, by anyone in the recording industry. Yet, it will appear as of there is nothing in the space that can control the acoustics, yet it's right there in front of you. Yet he did it. Go and watch and listen to relevant clips of the film on yootoob. All the noise, the yelling, the fighting, the dialog and the gunshots...all of it, live, captured off the set.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.