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the role of earthquakes in this stranding was not properly investigated

Posted by dwms07 on 07 May 2013 at 05:20 GMT

The authors ignored 4 moderate shallow-focus earthquakes that were likely responsible for this mass beaching.

The Seaquake Hypothesis advanced 25 years ago by the Deafwhale Society, one of the oldest marine mammal conservation groups in the world, suggests that potent infrasonic (~5 Hz) compression waves (seaquakes), generated above the epicenter of certain undersea earthquakes, can cause barotraumatic lesions in the sinuses, air sacs, and middle-ear air cavities of submerged whales and dolphins. Since healthy cranial air spaces are essential for both diving and the proper workings of the odontocete biosonar system, a pod of dolphins injured by a seaquake will find it difficult to dive and feed themselves and to echonavigate the open ocean. Such lost pods will swim downstream in the path of least resistance, stranding wherever the surface current guides them. This means that to locate the responsible earthquakes one must look UPSTREAM from the stranding beach, not downstream as was done in this study.

Had the authors looked upstream, they would have found the following dolphin-dangerous earthquakes had occurred within a known habitat for the stranded species:

quakes associated with UK common dolphin strandings
Comcat Search Beta - Results

DATE_TIME LAT LON DEP MAG MT SC Dist. Upstream
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2008-05-12 09:52:12.55 47.349N 27.309W 10.0 4.9 mb pde ~1,800 km
2008-05-11 21:01:07.22 47.342N 27.191W 10.0 4.7 mb pde ~1,800 km
2008-05-11 18:42:27.34 47.367N 27.341W 10.0 4.1 mb pde ~1,800 km
2008-05-06 08:47:10.87 53.475N 35.129W 10.0 5.2 mwc pde ~2,300 km

The most likely event was the 5.2 mag quake on May 06th; however, the cluster of 3 earthquakes on May 11 is highly suspicious.

Capt. David Williams, Chairman
Deafwhale Society, Inc.

No competing interests declared.