01 May 2013

Seaquake Causes 6 Killer Whales to Beach in Iceland


APRIL 30, 2013:   Six killer whales with seaquake-impaired biosonar were washed ashore in the early morning hours of April 30 just east of the village of Heiðarhöfn on the northern coast of Iceland's Langanes Peninsular. Two were dead by the time rescuers arrived. Two others were supposedly pushed back out to sea.


These killer whales were likely from the local fish-eating group that feed primarily on herring and other schooling fish found in abundance off  the coast of Northern Iceland near Grimsey and Flatey Islands, and the Bay at Husivik  Killer whale pods are often spotted in these areas. Undersea earthquakes are also known to occur, especially near Grimsey Island. 

This is exactly what happened eight times on 02 April, 27 days before the mass stranding. The seismic activity started with an extremely shallow 5.2 magnitude quake followed by 7 aftershocks:

2013-04-02   00:59:14.0   66.47N; 17.80W    2km deep;  5.2 mag.

2013-04-02   01:13:23.0   66.28N; 17.72W  10km deep;  4.1 mag

2013-04-02   08:55:55.0   66.53N; 17.57W    2km deep;  4.7 mag

2013-04-02  22:07:37.9    66.47N; 17.38W    ?km deep;  4.3 mag

2013-04-02  22:09:55.2    66.42N; 17.32W    1km deep;  4.2 mag

2013-04-02  22:52:12.0    66.16N; 17.20W    2km deep;  4.3 mag

2013-04-02  23:05:11.0    65.96N; 17.52W    2km deep;  4.4 mag

2013-04-03, 00:29:46.0    66.62N; 17.95W    1km deep;  4.2 mag

The changes in ambient water pressure induced by the dancing seafloor caused a barotrauma in their cranial air spaces and destroy their ability to dive and feed themselves and to navigate.  

Maybe the first quake was all it took to disable their biosonar?  Maybe the repeat exposure was what sealed their fate?  We will not the answer to these question until scientists wake up to seaquakes as the cause of mass beachings. 

The rescuers said they would wait until 3AM when the tide started flowing out before trying to "save" the others. A local reporter, Líney Sigurðardóttir, told Iceland Review that one of the calves has been rescued several times, but was always swimming back to the shore. "I hope the operation tonight will be a success," she added. But by the time the tide changed, the two remaining whales were so weak they had to be shot.

You can see and hear in the video above that there was a strong shoreward wind at the same time that there was a rising tide. Whales lost due to impaired biosonar always swim downstream. Strong shoreward winds the night before the beaching set the surface currents running towards the beach. The non-navigating killer whales got washed into the sand by the flow of the surface current. This is a typical ending for seaquake-injured toothed whales. This also explains why the youngster kept turning around and swimming back to the beach. 

Capt. David Williams

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2015
Dec 09: Whale Dangerous Earthquake South of Perth 
Dec 09: Seaquake causes dolphins to strand Baja California   
Nov 23: Seaquakes kill 322 baleen whales in Chile    (shocking)  
Aug 24: NOAA whale scientists dumbfounded   
Aug 14: stranded dolphin is determined to be deaf   
Aug 08: seaquake causes pilot whales to strand Nova Scotia   
Jul   27: is our stranding solution flawed as scientists claim   
Jun  01: pilots stranded Isles of Skye from Reykjanes Ridge   
May 22: dead whales washing ashore on the California Coast   
May 10: earthquake kills 20 Sei Whales near Chile Coast   
Apr  10: seaquake strands 150 melon-headed whales in Japan   

2014   
Dec 25: navigation failure in mass stranded whales  (most popular)   
Dec 08: seaquake causes 7 sperm whales to beach Australia   
Nov 24: seaquake beaches 3 sperm whales at Golden Bay   
Nov 04: seaquake beaches 60 pilot whales in Bay of Plenty   
Oct 29: nine pilot whales strand on Prince Edward Island   
Apr  11: 60 pilot whales beach in Bay of Plenty   
Mar 20: Cape Ray Newfoundland 37 dolphins beach   
Mar 14: undersea quakes louder than nuclear explosions   
Mar 13: seaquakes cause whale strandings 32 million years   
Mar 02: blue whale killed by seaquake in Kuwait   
Feb 27: seaquake kills young killer whale   
Feb 23: predicting mass beachings based on seaquakes   
Feb 21: lessons in understanding why whales beach   
Feb 18: seaquake Greenland Sea kills 3 sperm whales   
Feb 12: nine orcas killed by seaquake   
Jan 30: Cape Cod mass stranding predicted   
Jan 20: seaquake causes 39 pilot whales to strand Florida   
Jan 16: seaquakes beach 65 pilot whales in Golden Bay   
Jan 05: seaquake beaches 30 pilot whales in Golden Bay   

2013   
Dec 06: why did pilot whales beached in the everglades?   
Apr 30: seaquake beaches 6 killer whales in Iceland   
Apr 25: beached whales stop war games   

2012   
Dec 08: seaquake beach pilot whales South Carolina   
Nov 15: pilot whales beach at Golden Bay, New Zealand   
Nov 04: seaquake causes two pods to beach at King Island   
Oct 28:  pilot whales strand on North Andaman Island   
Oct 17: earthquakes cause New Zealand whale stranding   
Sep 09: earthquake kills pregnant sperm whale   
Sep 03: seaquake strands pilot whales in Scotland   
Aug 24: two quakes cause near beaching in Cape Verde   
Jul  28:  200 Pilot Whales Northwest of Iceland   
Mar 19: Four Sperm Whales Wash Ashore in China   

2011   
Dec  31: world's rarest whales killed by earthquake   
Mar 06: 52 melon-headed dolphins strand in Japan   

2008   
Nov 20: 52 Pilot Whales Stranded in Tasmania


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