Why Whales Strand!
Don’t look in the sand to learn why whales strand. Look at the waves washing ashore. The flow of the current is the energy guiding them to the sand! Said differently, whales strand only when tidal and wind-driven currents lead them ashore. Whales and dolphins never strand when the tide is washing back out to sea.
Observe rescues carefully. You will notice that whales must be released during the outgoing tidal flow before they will swim out to deep water. If pushed off the beach while the surface current is washing ashore, resistance to the flow of the current turns the whales around and points them back to the beach. They have obviously lost their acoustic sense of direction.
Lost whales, dead or alive, can only swim downstream with the current simply because downstream is the path of least drag. Said differently, a sense of direction in mandatory to swim upstream!
Is the answer too simple?
Before you can feel the truth deep in your gut, you must be aware that diving whales, human divers, frogs, birds, otters, sea turtles, manatees, polar bears, seals, walrus, and fish with air-filled swim bladders all face the same danger. They must never forget that the air contained in their internal air spaces must be balanced with the external pressure at the depth of their dive. A diver’s body can only function normally when the forces acting inside and forces acting outside are nearly equal. Every diver knows you must equalize pressure as your depth changes.
Pressure, whether due to the weight of the atmosphere plus the water, or caused by exposure to low-frequency sonar waves, or seismic p-waves generated during natural seafloor upheavals, must always be balanced. Said differently, if rapid changes in the surrounding water pressures suddenly exceed the diver’s ability to counterbalance, internal barotraumatic injuries cannot be avoided.
Boyle’s gas law states that at a constant temperature, the absolute pressure and the volume of air are inversely proportional. This means the size of internal air pockets decrease by 100% if the external pressure doubles. On the other hand, the size of the internal air pockets doubles if there is a 100% drop in external pressure. To avoid injury, pressure differences must be equal.
The average frequency of p-waves given off by an underwater earthquake is 7 cycles per second. These are compressional waves identical to sonar waves. Each cycle has a positive pressure phase followed a split second later by a negative pressure phase. This means that exposure to the average underwater p-waves will cause the volume of internal air to increase and decrease 14 times per second. Sonar waves are much higher in frequency.
Imagine the volume of air in your sinuses and your middle ear air cavities doubling 14 times every second. Your nose and ears would be bleeding profusely.
When any underwater diver’s ability to compensate cannot coup with the either the speed or the intensity of the pressure fluctuations, the cranial air spaces will suffer a pressure-related injury.
Barotrauma is the most common injury in all divers including fish, fowl, reptiles and mammals. Barotrauma is every diver’s weak spot. It is the most common injury in all divers including fish, fowl, reptiles and marine mammals.
Barotrauma in any species of undersea life is the absolute last thing the US Navy and the oil industry want to talk about. It is the #1 taboo topic for whale scientists! Don’t believe me? Try to find a scientific report on barotrauma in deep diving whales! You will not find any detail information no matter where you look!
The US Navy is covering up the fact that sinus barotrauma will disable the biosonar of a pod of diving whales and cause them to swim blindly downstream until the incoming tide points them to a beach!
But why is it usually a beach? Because the flow of the current guiding the lost whales downstream is the same energy that builds beaches. It only stands to reason that what carries the sand would also guide pods of lost whales to where beaches are building. This is why whales usually strand on beaches.
In his Posterior Analytics, Aristotle argued that nothing in nature was done in vain and nothing was superfluous, so our theories of nature should be as simple as possible. Several centuries later, at the beginning of the modern scientific revolution, Galileo espoused a similar view, holding that, “nature does not multiply things unnecessarily; that she makes use of the easiest and simplest means for producing her effects.” Similarly, at beginning of the third book of the Principia, Isaac Newton included the following principle among his “rules for the study of natural philosophy”:
“No more causes of natural things should be admitted than are both true and sufficient to explain their phenomena.”
As the philosopher Newton said. “Nature does nothing in vain, and more causes are in vain when fewer will suffice. For Nature is simple and does not indulge in the luxury of superfluous causes.”
The simplest stranding solution would be that pods of whales strand on beaches because they are lost. No scientist has ever advanced this simple theory or proven it otherwise. In fact, no scientist has ever suggested that stranded whales might be lost. Does it make you wonder way?
The US Navy is the world’s expert in diving accidents. But they are not worried about the alarming number of dead and dying whales washing ashore. The reason is simple. The Navy, with help from the oil industry, have been bribing whale scientists and the media for over 40+ years so they are not concerned about pressure-related injuries in whales. The truth is that scientists have been lying to us for decades because they sold out to the US Navy and the oil industry.
Can crooked whale scientists ever come clean and admit that whales strand simply because they are lost? Oh my… what a deep hole they have dug for themselves! History will never forget the great whale stranding fiasco.
The bribery is weird because the number one reason why whales strand is Mother Nature, not the Navy or the oil industry. For example, an average 1,500 undersea earthquakes greater than magnitude 5 occur annually along subduction zones near continents and islands and along the mid-ocean ridges that circle the globe like seams on a baseball. These seismic danger zones are where a lot of squid and fish hangout — the whales simply follow their food into harm’s way.
Read just one example of a ship hit by a seaquake.
One more important piece of the puzzle must be added. Ninety percent of the above-mentioned tectonic borders course along the bottom of our oceans and seas. This means that 90% of all the seismic upheavals happen underwater near where whales and dolphins dive to feed as many as 3-4 times a day.
Add several hundred more submarine volcanic explosions annually (link) and then add in another 10 to 20 meteorites slamming into the water’s surface, and you begin to see that the feeding grounds of whales and dolphins is not such a safe place to dive, especially when you realize that during a natural undersea upheavals, the rocky bottom jerks about, pushing and pulling the water column, generating rapid and excessive changes in ambient water pressures. Such oscillations in pressure can easily traumatize the cranial air sinuses of an entire pod of diving whales. In fact, one seaquake might even cause two pods of pelagic odontoceti to mass beach.
Mother Nature has been the main reason why whales strand ever since coastal dolphins first ventured out into the deep sea some 30 million years ago. The US Navy knows this to be true. They have hundreds of listening stations all over the globe. They even know when a blue whale passes gas.
The second reason why whales strand is the high-intensity noise generated by the US Navy and the oil industry. Their powerful sonar, air gun arrays, and underwater explosives emit practically the same low-frequency pressure oscillations as seafloor seismic disturbances and meteorites slamming into the ocean’s surface.
Natural seafloor upheavals, sonar, air guns, meteorites, and underwater explosions all generate strong low-frequency positive and negative pressure oscillations that crisscross the bodies of diving whales at 1,500 meters per second. These high-speed pressure pulsations cause drastic alterations in the volume of air in their cranial air spaces. If excessive, the membranes tear and the air leaks into their heads. Such an injury causes their cranial air spaces to stop working as acoustic mirrors, bouncing sound around to enable their biosonar. In other words, busted sinuses cause whales to lose their ability to echo-navigate and echolocate their food. Nor can they dive deeper than a few feet due to severe sinus pain. This is exactly why whales strand!
This also explains why they have no fresh food in their stomachs and are severely dehydrated (all their fresh water comes from the food they eat).
They lose their acoustic sense of direction simply because the proper volume of air in each cranial air space is mandatory for their biosonar.
There is the additional danger that the rapidly changing air volumes inside their skull during intense fluctuations in the surrounding water pressure might do other damage such as force the Eustachian tube to close or snap a small bone that plays an important part in biosonar function. Much can go wrong when the volume of internal air bounces back and forth in excess of the diver’s ability to compensate.
The whales on the beach in the above picture do not look injured because sinus barotrauma is the slightest, yet deadliest internal injury any diving mammal can possibly receive and still look outwardly healthy.
But the truly mysterious part is not why whales strand. The real enigma is why both the US Navy and the oil industry refuse to fund an investigation into how extreme changes in diving pressures generated by natural underwater seismic upheavals kill marine mammals. You’d think they would be thrilled to prove that undersea earthquakes explained why whales strand just so they could get themselves off the hook.
It is even more strange when you consider the US Navy’s Maritime Safety Division warned us back in 1966 that underwater seismic disturbances are extremely dangerous to marine life. They said: “MARINE LIFE CAN BE DESTROYED BY A SEAQUAKE.” (see page 59 of this pdf)
The US Navy’s Maritime Safety Division even warned on the last page of the above article:
“Damaging seaquake: The ship may be thrown about in the water with such force that mast, booms, superstructure, and machinery as well as the hull may be damaged. It is possible for seams to be opened to such an extent that flooding cannot be contained and the vessel sinks.”
Think about it! If the US Navy says a seaquake can crack the hull of a ship and sink it, surely seafloor seismic activity can injure the sinuses of a pod of diving whales in a fashion to destroy their acoustic sense of direction.
You might look at acoustically blind whales on the beach and think they committed suicide. Or, maybe they followed a sick pod mate because they love each too much. Then there’s two dozen other nonsensical scientific hypothesis to explain why they look so healthy laying there in the sand.
But the simplest idea of all — that stranded whales previously lost their sense of direction — is never mentioned by whale scientists. Not only is this idea never talked about, the injurious loss of their biosonar system has never been ruled out or even investigated in a public document.
Lost whales would swim into a beach on an incoming tide, which is exactly when all strandings occur. That’s right, strandings never happen when the tide is flowing back out to sea. (see whales guided ashore by current)
So why don’t the US Navy and the oil industry blame strandings on undersea seismic disturbances? Even if seaquakes were not the real cause of why whales strand, the Navy, and big oil could still blame these events and take the spotlight off their instruments.
Here’s another strange set of facts: The US Navy pays for 50% of all whale research worldwide (link). The oil industry (by way of various taxes and fees) pays for 47 percent. Why are the two worse underwater noise polluters on the planet paying for all the research to study the world’s most acoustically dependent animals?
What are they trying to cover-up?
Do you remember how big tobacco controlled all the lung cancer research in the 1950s and 1960s? They were even paying doctors to advertise cigarettes. They paid for the lion’s share of cancer research because they wanted to control the best available scientific information on smoking and lung cancer. If the scientists didn’t come up with the results big tobacco wanted, they got blacklisted and never got another dime. Plenty of crooked, lying, mud sucking scientists step forward, stuck out their greedy hands, and wrote all about how healthy it was to inhale cigarette tar, benzene, and a hundred other deadly chemicals into your lungs. They didn’t give a rat’s ass if you died of lung cancer or not. All they cared about was making money!
The obvious conclusion is that science is for sale and always has been!
But why does the oil industry and the US Navy want to control all the whale scientists? More important, why does Congress, the Secretary of Commerce, NOAA, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Marine Mammal Commission allow the two worst acoustic polluters of the marine environment such absolute power over the financial success of whale scientists?
And why do they want to keep you in the dark about barotrauma in the cranial air sinus of whales as a result of pressure waves generated by natural underwater disturbances? Especially after the US Navy already told us that seaquakes kill marine life. You’d think they would be telling us more specifically about how seaquakes do the killing, especially when it comes to marine mammals. So why all the secrecy?
Their motive is simple. As mentioned above, military sonar, oil industry air guns, and underwater explosives cause the same injury in diving whales as does undersea seismic upheavals. The low-frequency pressure waves generated by nature or by man are about the same and they cause the same barotraumatic injuries. This is true because the cranial air spaces are the most delicate part of any diver’s anatomy when exposed to rapid changes in water pressures.
The reason they cannot reveal that natural undersea catastrophes cause sinus barotrauma in marine mammals is because there is no difference between barotrauma caused by their underwater noisemakers and barotrauma caused by Mother Nature. In other words, they are covering up for Mother Nature to keep from convicting their own noise makers.
Why Whales Strand
The US Navy knows that busted sinuses (barosinusitis) explain why whales strand. But they refuse to allow the scientists they bribe to talk about it. Doubt me? Search online for “sinus barotrauma and whales.” You find mostly my work.
Here is more specific evidence: The first scientific goal in one US Navy sponsored research paper (link) was: “To understand how the ears of deep-diving marine mammals are structured to prevent barotrauma.”
The author considered her report special because it would be presented at the 1998 NATO meeting to discuss the sonar impacts on beaked whales. Regardless that the stated purpose of this research was to understand how deep-diving whales prevent barotrauma, the world’s leading whale hearing expert, who has received hundreds of grants from the Navy, declared:
” . . .we (scientists) have no knowledge of what auditory structural adaptations these animals evolved to endure bathypelagic and rapidly changing pressures . . .”
There was no mention of the massive air sinuses and air sacs in the heads of these deep divers. How can the world’s leading expert on hearing in whales discuss barotrauma in diving mammals and not mention the sinuses and air sacs, the part of their anatomy most vulnerable to excessive low-frequency pressure changes? I suggest that the only purpose of this US Navy-sponsored scientific doublespeak was to have the world’s leading scientist officially declare that there was “no available scientific information on barotrauma in whales.”
Here’s another scientific article in which the same expert said scientists have no knowledge about hearing in whales (link). Everywhere you turn, whale scientists are claiming to be just plain stupid about sinus barotrauma and hearing injury in cetaceans. Naturally, there is a huge ongoing argument about how sonar kills whales. Many scientists, bought and paid for by US Navy grants, blame the injury on the whales. They say it’s the whales’ fault because they get spooked and swim to the surface too fast.
“…over the past 20 years, the media has implicated intense sounds from naval vessels and seismic testing in several stranding events. A few cases of cetaceans we have worked with in rehabilitation showed signs of hearing impairment, with one dolphin being completely deaf. However, whether these cases can be connected with anthropogenic noise requires “further investigation” resulting in understanding the effects of intense noise and contributing to the development of mitigation strategies. Ultimately, the aim is to find a balance between the basic needs of marine mammals and the important role the ocean plays in the exploration for natural resources and in maritime defense.”
In other words, scientists have argued auditory trauma in marine mammals for over 20 years with the expressed idea of balancing the acoustical slaughter of marine mammals against the needs of the oil industry and naval forces around the world. They are not solving the mystery of why whales strand; they are setting up a big scientific argument.
Who do you think is losing this argument? Here’s a hint… as mentioned above, the oil industry and the US Navy pays for 97% of all whale research worldwide. In other words, the two worst acoustic polluters of the underwater world are bribing whale scientists with a specific goal in mind.
That special purpose would naturally center around the legislation that controls exactly how much noise they can make underwater! Congress named this law the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Click the link and look for the yellow highlights. The legislation that protects our whales and dolphins states over and over (17 times) that the Secretary of Commerce must protect marine mammals according to the “best available scientific information.” There is no protection if the scientists guiding the Secretary of Commerce are arguing with each other. Read it with your own eyes! The US Navy and the oil industry are doing the same thing big tobacco did in the 1950s and 1960s. In order to defeat the law protecting the whales, the two worst acoustic polluters bribe the whale scientists. Bottom line is that the Marine Mammal Protection Act protects the world’s worst underwater noisemakers, not our marine mammals.
Said differently, the scientists who develop the scientific information to determine the level of dangerous noise in the marine environment are on the payroll of the US Navy and the oil industry, the two worst acoustic polluters of the marine environment.
The scam is easy to see. The US Navy and the oil industry defeat that Marine Mammal Protection Act by using taxpayer money and tax deductions to control whale scientists so that the “best available scientific information” never emerges.
The Marine Mammal Protection Act has been a worthless scrap of paper since the day President Richard Nixon signed it into law.
Equally obvious, the US Navy and oil industry are not going to use taxpayer money to sponsor any research that will show how their operations cause rapid pressure changes that kill marine mammals. Nor do they want to see earthquake-induced barosinusitis accepted as the main reason why whales strand since it is only a small step over to barosinusitis induced by explosives, sonar, and/or air guns.
How does it feel to know you’ve been tricked?
Capt. David Williams
(the world’s oldest whale conservation group)
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