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15 December 2014

Recent Whale-Dangerous Seaquakes


Starting in December, 2014, the Deafwhale Society will publish what we consider to be recent whale-dangerous seaquakes so that anyone interested in our work can look at the technical data. The areas of seafloor under observation will be limited to sections of the mid-ocean ridge system believed to have produced previous mass beachings in Cape Cod, Golden Bay, Tasmania, South Australia, Faeroe Islands Ireland, Scotland, and the North Sea. No other ridge sections will be monitored.


Deafwhale's seaquake theory guides that pods of whales mass strand from 20 to 40 days after a whale-dangerous seaquake along a mid-ocean ridge situated ~2,400 miles upstream from the stranding beach. The injury (barosinusitis) knocks out their echonavigation and echolocation and prevents them from making feeding dives due to intense pain. The confused pods are guided downstream into the path of least drag by  the flow of surface currents. They swim downstream ~100 miles every 24 hours. The average trip from seaquake epicenter to the stranding beach takes ~24 days. On occasion, a lost pod will be guided in large circles by a current eddie. These whales may arrive at the beach ~10 days later than time and distance traveled predicts.

Seaquakes outside this time and distance are obviously not responsible.


Support for the seaquake theory comes in two ways. First, if a mass stranding occurs downstream from one of the whale-dangerous seaquake listed below, and the time and distance traveled fits our model, then the event is strong evidence that upstream seaquakes can cause pods of whales and dolphins to mass strand themselves. On the other hand, if no whale-dangerous seaquakes are report in a given upstream area, and no whales beach downstream within the 40-day time period, then this is evidence that mass strandings only occur following a whale-dangerous seaquake. In other words, no strandings and no whale-dangerous upstream earthquakes can also support the seaquake theory.

The seaquake theory suggest that 90% of all mass beachings result from seaquakes between 4.5 and 6.5 magnitude. These quakes are all focused less that 20 km below the ocean's surface. Most are vertical thrusting, occurring along mid-ocean ridges during periods of local darkness. Larger quakes are not thought to cause mass beachings because microquakes from these events begin days in advance. Whales would hear these microquakes and scamper away long before the main event. Only the lessor events (without microquake) catch the diving whales by surprise.

The following suspicious seaquakes recently occurred. Our best guess on where surface currents might guide the injured pod is also shown.

Check back to this website often, and see if the seaquake theory is valid.

Capt. David Williams
Deafwhale Society


Magnitudemb 4.6
RegionREYKJANES RIDGE  (Faeroe Islands, Ireland, Scotland, North Sea)
Date time2014-12-14 13:49:57.4 UTC
Location56.97 N ; 34.17 W
Depth10 km
Distances1041 km SW of Reykjavík, Iceland / pop: 113,906 / local time: 13:49:57.4 2014-12-14
800 km SE of Qaqortoq / pop: 3,224 / local time: 10:49:00.0 2014-12-14 

Magnitudemb 4.6
RegionREYKJANES RIDGE  (Faeroe Islands, Ireland, Scotland, North Sea)
Date time2014-12-14 03:05:36.4 UTC
Location60.17 N ; 29.49 W
Depth10 km
Distances593 km SW of Reykjavík, Iceland / pop: 113,906 / local time: 03:05:36.4 2014-12-14
559 km SW of Keflavík, Iceland / pop: 7,930 / local time: 03:05:36.4 2014-12-14

Magnitudemb 5.1
RegionOFF W. COAST OF S. ISLAND, N.Z.  (Golden Bay, New Zealand)
Date time2014-12-12 08:02:08.7 UTC
Location46.93 S ; 165.87 E
Depth20 km
Distances948 km SW of Wellington, New Zealand / pop: 381,900 / local time: 21:02:08.7 2014-12-12
199 km W of Invercargill, New Zealand / pop: 47,287 / local time: 21:02:08.7 2014-12-12
177 km W of Riverton, New Zealand / pop: 1,651 / local time: 21:02:08.7 2014-12-12 

Magnitudemb 5.1
Date time2014-12-09 05:18:29.0 UTC
Location49.82 S ; 122.57 E
Depth10 km
Distances2690 km SW of Canberra, Australia / pop: 327,700 / local time: 16:18:29.0 2014-12-09
4098 km SW of Wellington, New Zealand / pop: 381,900 / local time: 18:18:29.0 2014-12-09
4583 km S of Dili, East Timor / pop: 150,000 / local time: 14:18:29.0 2014-12-09 

MagnitudeMw 5.6
RegionAUCKLAND ISLANDS, N.Z. REGION  (Golden Bay, New Zealand)
Date time2014-12-01 13:04:22.4 UTC
Location49.04 S ; 164.51 E
Depth10 km
Distances1179 km SW of Wellington, New Zealand / pop: 381,900 / local time: 02:04:22.4 2014-12-02
411 km SW of Invercargill, New Zealand / pop: 47,287 / local time: 02:04:22.4 2014-12-02
394 km SW of Bluff, New Zealand / pop: 1,938 / local time: 02:04:22.4 2014-12-02