Why whales strand: Regardless of the alarming number of dead whales washing ashore, the US Navy and the oil industry have nothing to worry about when it comes to why whales strand. They’ve been bribing whale scientists and the media for over 40+ years!
The bribery is a bit 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. This is where a lot of squid and fish hangout — the whales simply follow their food into these dangerous areas.
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 that occur on our planet 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 natural undersea upheavals push and pull at the bottom of 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 one or two pods of pelagic odontoceti the mass beach.
Mother Nature has been the main reason why pods of whales mass strand ever since herds of coastal dolphin first venture out into the deep sea some 30 million years ago. The US Navy knows this to be an absolute fact. 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.
They’ve known the truth for decades. 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.
They also know that exposure to rapid and excessive changes in diving pressures is EVERY diver’s worse nightmare come true, including Navy seals. Every animals diving with an enclosed air pocket is subject to the same danger. As an example, the most common injury is scuba diving in sinus barotrauma caused by changes in diving pressures that happen so fast the divers have little time to clear their ears.
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 why whales strand! This also explains why whales strand with no fresh food in their stomachs and severely dehydrated (all their fresh water comes from the food they eat).
They lose their acoustic sense of direction simply because the air held in the cranial air spaces serves underwater not only to generate biosonar clicks but also to reflect, focus, and channel the returning echoes. Without the proper volume of air in each cranial air space, their acoustic navigation system quits working.
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 air in the sinuses and middle ear cavities bounces back and forth in excess of the diver’s ability to compensate.
Those 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 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. And you would look at them on the beach (see above picture) and think they commit suicide. Or maybe you would believe they follow a sick pod mate because they love each too much. Then there’s maybe 50 other scientific hypothesis to explain why they look so healthy laying there in the sand.
But the simplest idea of all — that the whales had lost their sense of direction — is never mentioned by whale scientists. Not only is this idea never mentioned, the injurious loss of their biosonar system has never been ruled out or even investigated.
Lost whales would swim into a beach on an incoming tide, which is when strandings occur. That’s right, strandings never occur when the tide is flowing back out to sea. 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 marine mammals?
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!
Science is for sale and it always has been!
But why does the oil industry and the US Navy want to control all the whale research? 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 and 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 a diving whale’s anatomy when exposed to rapid changes in diving pressures.
But they cannot reveal that natural undersea catastrophes cause sinus barotrauma in marine mammals 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 sinus barotrauma. If they convict seaquakes, they convict 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 divers 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 this expert 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 a 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 the US Navy 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. 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 naturally centers around the legislation that controls exactly how much noise they can make underwater! We call 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 to the “best available scientific information.” There is no protection if the Secretary of Commerce is guided by a “scientific argument.” Read it with your own eyes! The US Navy and the oil industry are doing the same thing big tobacco did in the 50s and 60s. The bribing whale scientists in order to scam the law protecting whales.
Bottom line is that the Marine Mammal Protection Act protects the world’s worst underwater noise polluters, not our whales.
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 scam is easy to see. The two worst acoustic polluters 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 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.
Capt. David Williams
(the world’s oldest whale conservation group)