Q:

Where can a person hear sound echoes?

A:

An echo can be heard in a cave when a sound reflects off surrounding walls and then is heard again. It is also possible to hear an echo in an empty room, in a mountain valley, under a bridge or by calling down into a well.

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The farther away the reflecting source, the longer it takes the sound to echo back. The word "echo" originates from the Greek "echo," meaning "repeated sound." In Greek mythology, Echo was a nymph who left behind only her voice when she died after her love for Narcissus, a beautiful boy who loved no one but himself, went unrequited.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the reflection of sound?

    A:

    When sound waves strike a surface, they reflect off of that surface and can return to the source of the sound as an echo. To a listener, this may be identical to the original sound, just delayed and possibly distorted by its path through the air. If the echo arrives quickly enough, it may seem to be part of the original sound, forming a reverberation instead of an echo.

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  • Q:

    Why is an echo weaker than the original sound?

    A:

    An echo is weaker than the original sound because the sound wave imparts energy to the surface from which it bounces. When a sound wave is directed at a distant surface, particles of air in the path transmit the energy to the next particle, until it reaches the surface. When the sound wave hits the surface, it transmits energy to it. This loss manifests itself as a weaker return signal.

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  • Q:

    Is the echoing effect produced by many reflections of sound?

    A:

    An echo is the reflection of sound waves off distant objects, whereas flutter echoes bounce repeatedly off multiple surfaces. An example of an echo is when someone shouts into a well, or along canyon walls, and the sound of the human voice comes back to the person's ears. A flutter echo occurs in large buildings with parallel walls, such as gymnasiums, where sounds increase to create loud environments.

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  • Q:

    How are echoes created?

    A:

    Echoes work through the reflection of sound waves. When a person shouts into a well or canyon, and they hear an echo, it is because the sound waves reflect from the canyon wall or the bottom of the well and travel back to the person's ears.

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