06 November 2014

Seaquake Causes 60 Pilot Whales to Beach in Bay of Plenty, New Zealand (11/04/14)


The news media informs that two different pods (~60 pilot whales) stranded inside Ohiwa Harbor, located a 38.000S; 177.119E

In my opinion, these whales began their stranding journey as one pod, but ended up separated at night either by a storm at sea, sharks, or a combination of both.

The pod was injured on October 13, 2014 by rapid and excessive changes in ambient water pressure experienced above the epicenter of a shallow 6.2 mag. earthquake that occurred off West Cape, South Island (see below). The US Navy funded research published in 1972 shows that the average seabed earthquake could generated a series of vacillating pressure changes bouncing between 300 psi above and 300 psi below ambient pressures (Link).

It's simply a matter of physics -- if the degree and speed of the changes in cranial air volume exceeds the whales counterbalancing mechanisms, they will suffer torn/bruised sinus membranes (barosinusitis) and/or damaged to their middle-ears.

Everyone knows that a deaf whale is a dead whale. But few know that barosinusitis is far more common because the injury occurs at levels of excitement far lass than required to damage the cochlea. In other words, all partially deafened cetaceans also suffer barosinusitis. Scientists don't tell you this because the groups that finance 98% of all whale research worldwide (the US Navy and the oil industry) do not want to public to know how easy it is to induce barosinusitis in diving whales. They pay for the research and the scientists produce the results they expect. Don't provide the desired results and you'll never get another grant. Whales scientists know how the game is played.

Strange as it may seem, no whale scientists has ever inquired into whether or not whales ever suffered a diving-related pressure injury. In other words, our whale scientists must believe violent natural catastrophes, such as earthquakes and volcanic explosions never generate excessive changes in diving pressures.

Or, could it be that rapid and excessive pressure changes fall into the taboo category of those furnishing 98% of the money available to whale researchers?

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

The ensuring pain from barosinusitis prevents the whales from diving and feeding themselves. And, since cranial air cavities also serve to deflect, bounce, and channel returning echolocation and echonavigation signals, barosinusitis also disabled their biosonar system preventing them from using sound to examine their environment and find their way around the open ocean.

But the whales are not deaf; they simply can not determine the direction from which the returning echoes strike their lower jaw. They become like deaf bats flying around at night in pitch-black darkness. Said differently, exposure to excessive hydro-seismo-acoustic pressure changes renders the entire pod as lost at sea as would be a blind man set adrift in a row boat.

This stranding concept was advanced by the Deafwhale Society 25 years ago. But whale scientists sponsored by the navy and oil industry, and non-profits in the lucrative business of rescuing whales for donations, don't want to hear that the whales are injured and will surely die if not penned and treated for several weeks.

The cover-up is necessary because if barosinusitis every became fixed in the minds of whale-loving public, the US Navy and the oil industry will be forced to reduce their acoustical pollution. To them, lowering the noise level would be like breaking a life-long addiction to heroin.

As far as those that rescue whales, the stranding concept that best increases their donations is one that says a pod of healthy whales were just following a sick leader when they accidentally got stuck in the sand. The navy and oil industry also like this delusion. Another likable concepts is that deep water whales were just feeding too close to shore and accidentally run aground. Or, their sonar does not work on a gradually slopping beach.

Any idea that say the whales made a navigation error gets the full support of the rescue teams because such concepts mean that whales push back off the beach are healthy and will live long lives. In other words, there needs to be a "successful rescue" so the public will donate more money, and not be so critical of the navy and oil industry.

So, as things go now, the news media seeks out those in charge at a stranding and they report the beaching was just a little navigation error made by healthy whales.

As an example, Steve Brightwell, with DOC claimed on Radio New Zealand that "the whales swam into the harbor because only one was unwell and had beached itself."

Mike Jones, also with DOC, said that "the strandings began after a badly injured whale headed up the harbor channel."

Blair Mase, NOAA's whale stranding coordinator, was quoted recently as saying, "Pilot whales are susceptible to mass strandings because they form close-knit social groups and are often unwilling to leave even one sick whale behind."

Erin Fougeres, another NOAA stranding coordinator, tells us that, "pilot whales mass strand because they have a very tight social structure so one or two of the animals may be sick and the rest of the pod may follow those individuals in and then become stranded and debilitated and sick and eventually strand themselves. The animals we work up (necropsy) may not be those one or two that were sick so we may not have found those sick individuals that lead the pod in." 

So what's really going on?

It is true that the main pod sometimes follows what appears to be a lead whale or two. This observation was the reason folks back in the early 1800s stopped using the name pothead and started calling these animals pilot whales.  One or two always seemed to pilot the main pod to the beach.

The part that's not true is that the lead whales are the only ones injured.

So what's really going on when the main pod follows a leader and they all get stranded?

Let's back up and go over this again. Suppose for a moment that I'm right -- all the adult members of this pod had lost their ability to dive and sense acoustic direction due to a barotraumatic injured induced by a 6.2 magnitude undersea earthquake off West Cape. Since the pod has no idea where they are or where they are going, their swim path becomes controlled by the surface currents.  The downstream flow easily turns them and points them headfirst in the path of least resistance (aka: path of least drag).

In fluid dynamics, drag refers to forces acting opposite to the relative motion of any object moving with respect to a surrounding fluid. In a medium as dense as water, it takes very little flow speed to create a whole lot of drag. When anything tries to move through water, water pushes back. Therefore, drag is markedly increase when swimming upstream and practically disappears when swimming downstream. Thus, lost whales will ALWAYS swim downstream.

Funny thing is that whale scientists and rescuer teams refuse to admit that stranded whales are ALWAYS swimming with the flow when they go ashore and when they are pushed off the beach. Why? Are they so blind that they can't see the evidence of biosonar failure laid so bare in front of their eyes? Or, is biosonar failure another taboo topic?

Do you doubt stranded whales always swim downstream?  Watch what happens in this video when they try to push a whale out to sea against the flow of the surface waters (link). Rescue teams all over the world know this -- they are not stupid or blind. They always wait until the tides are flowing away from the beach before they push the whales out to deeper water. If a storm is washing waters inland against the tide, the rescuers truck the whales miles away to a beach protected from the wind.

In the picture above, a pilot whale is loaded onto a truck Friday, Sept. 24, 2010. Rescuers are moving the 24 survivors of a pod of 80 pilot whales that stranded themselves on a remote northern New Zealand beach to a more storm sheltered area so they could then push them back out to sea. The whales could not swim into the shoreward flow of the surface currents so they trucked them to where the current was washing out to sea. Like I say, they are not blind or stupid; they are just tricking the public to get more donations.

Big oceanic sharks taste and smell the water. They sense the pod is in trouble so they move behind the pod where the taste and smell is the strongest. Sharks are not stupid either. They know a pod of pilot whales can defend themselves so they do not go rushing in with jaws wide open. They simply move in behind the injured pod and pick off the stragglers. This is a continuous process all the way to the beach.  Five or six sharks eat a pilot whale and swim away. In the mean time, five or six more hungry sharks move in. The presents of sharks behind them keeps the lost pod moving downstream.

The answer to what's really going on can be found by studying the behavior of a herd of land animals fleeing from predators. In 1971, in the oft cited article "Geometry For The Selfish Herd," evolutionary biologist W. D. Hamilton asserted that each individual group member reduces the danger to itself by moving as close as possible to the center of the fleeing group. Thus the herd appears as a single unit by moving together, but its function emerges from the uncoordinated behavior of self-serving individuals. (see Selfish Herd Theory)

The senior members of the herd are the selfish ones pushing themselves to the center.

In whales, the behavior of the senior pod members while being pursued by a pack of hungry sharks is a little different. The pod is pressured to keep swimming downstream by the pack of sharks bring up the rear. The sharks trail behind because this is where the taste and smell is the strongest and where they find the weakest stragglers. But the area of least danger is not the center. Rather, pod leaders are less likely to be attacked if they are out front of the pod and farthest from the sharks.

The leaders are even more selfish then we might first think. If they get too far out front, they lose the rest of the pod and might then be singled out by a different pack of sharks. To be safe, they must maintain the proper distance out front so the main pod can keep up.

Because the entire parade is slowing moving downstream, the less ranking whales in the main pod suffer the highest predation risk. These members must choose whether to stay with the pod, and thus be likely targets, or whether to desert the pod, and signal their vulnerability. Leaving the pod may entice the sharks to gang up on the sole individual. This is why pilot whales, in the process of stranding, or after being set free of the beach, are extremely reluctant to leave the group and go off on their own. They feel much safer with others around them. (see On the evolution of group-escape strategies of selfish prey.)

In a seaquake-injured pod, the leaders out front have no idea where they are going. All they know is that they are furthest from the sharks. Thus, a mass beaching is truly a case of the blind leading the blind.

However, according to those the press always seek out, following a sick leader supposedly happens because pilot whales are so socially bonded to each other that they'd rather be dead than let their beloved leader die alone.

Scientists espousing this nonsense should be ashamed of themselves.

Below is a picture of the whales before they stranded. It was taken over the weekend by fishermen out in the Bay of Plenty.

Photo: Dennis Davey These whales have good vision. They can also hear, but they can not determine the direction of any returning echoes. Barosinusitis has knocked out their sense of direction, not their ability to hear sounds.

Their eyes are set on the sides of the heads so they cannot see directing in front. This is why they raise their heads above the surface and look around. This spyhopping behavior is often seen in many species of toothed whales before they beach themselves. It is a positive sign that their biosonar is dysfunctional.

Notice that the surface appears to be flat; the waters calm. There was no currents flowing in any direction. The whales are bobbing up to take a look around because they have no idea where they are or where to go.

Thirty-six of the so-called healthy whales that attended the funeral of their leader died within hours of stranding.  How healthy were they? Did they die of a broken heart? Twenty-five were floated out in specially made rafts by the rescuers and then driven out of the harbor on the outgoing tidal flow. Notice in the picture below that the water is flat calm -- not much current flowing in any direction. If there is no current to guide them, they will mill around sorta stupid like and raise their heads up to see what's going on.

Project Jonah's efforts to refloat the stranded whales were successful with 22 whales last seen heading to deeper water.When they do swim, the current turns them and point them downstream.

The rescuers know they can not drive the whales upstream so they wait around petting the whales and pouring water on them until after the crest of the next high tide when the water starts to flow back out to sea.

According to the rescuers, 59 of these perfectly healthy loving whales made the stupid mistake of following a sick leader and got stuck in the sand (sometimes mud).

Their strong social bond and devotion to each other would cost them their lives if the rescue teams had not rushed to the scene and pushed them out to deep water. On the other, our ancestors would have danced in joy at the bountiful meat God had delivered to them.

Was our ancestors right?

The headlines went out all around the world -- RESCUERS SAVE BEACHED WHALES IN NEW ZEALAND! This bullshit is all about getting donations from the public. Few people would donate if they knew those pushed off the beach were as near death as the ones that died on the beach.

Their health can be proven in this case.

A photo posted this morning on the Project Jonah Facebook page.

The "rescued whales" re-stranded downstream from where they were pushed out to sea. Notice the breaking waves in the background. This tells you that there was a strong current washing ashore. This current carried the non-navigating whales onto the beach where they stranded for the second time. Now as far as we know, all 60 whales are dead. In other words, the idea that 59 of the whales were healthy and only one was sick has been uncloaked.

The rescue did not fail because the rescuers made any drastic mistakes. The rescue failed because the surface currents did not wash the healthy whales they supposedly rescued far enough out to sea, and keep them moving towards deep water long enough for the sharks to get the meat our ancestors would have gladly harvested. The main problem was that the wind shifted and set up a shoreward current that washed the lost whales back to the beach.

Don't begrudge the sharks. They should get the meat rather than have buried in the sand.


The idea quake to injure a pod of whales will have the following characteristics:  (a) vertical thrusting between 4.8 and 6.5 magnitude, (b) focal point less than 15 km deep, and (c) occurred between 5 pm and 6 am local time.

The whales that died in the Bay of Plenty were hit by hydroacoustic P-waves (aka: seaquakes) coming up from a nasty earthquake just off the southwestern tip of South Island, New Zealand. The surface currents then guided the lost whales from the south end of New Zealand all the way to the north end, and into the Bay of Plenty.

Currents Tasmas Sea

At ~6:05 pm local time on October 13, a pod of  ~75 pilot whales were on a feeding dive ~300 feet below the surface ~140 km west of Tuatapere, South Island. They suddenly heard the rumbling sounds of microquakes coming up from the seabed 15 km away from their position. They ignored the warning thinking it was far enough away or might even be another false alarm.

At ~6:12 pm, the microquakes got louder and closer together. This was a serious warning -- a violent event was about to erupt in the seafloor below them so they better get to the surface and raise they heads out of the water to protect their pressure sensitive cranial air spaces.

They abandoned their feeding and started swimming away from the danger signals at a 45 degree angle towards the surface. They were ~100 feet down when the main event struck. It was a severe vertical thrusting quake.

Mag. Mw 6.2 (link to quake details)
Date time 2014-10-13 06:13:43.0 LOCAL TIME
Location 46.28 S ; 166.06 E
Depth 10 km

A magnitude 5.2 aftershock occurred an hour later. (link to aftershock)

This was the same area where a violent seaquake rocked a ship on Christmas Day, 1869. As reported in North Otago Times on 21 January 1870, "The barque Adeline Burke, which arrived at Lyttelton from Newcastle, a few days ago, experienced a severe shock of "seaquake"' at 4.52 p.m. on Christmas Day. The shock, which appeared to travel from N.E. to S.W. lasted for four or five seconds, and is said to have been accompanied by a rumbling sound resembling distant thunder. It caused the vessel to tremble and shake with a force almost equal to that of going over a reef of rocks, the rudder especially being shaken with great violence. The barque was at the time not far from the West Cape, and the weather was very tempestuous, the waves being described as perfect mountains, and coming up from the N.E." 

Two other ships experienced the same shockA few weeks since we mentioned that a severe shock of seaquake was experienced by the barque Adeline Burke, on Christmas Day, while near the West Cape. From the Newcastle papers we learn that the shock was also felt by the barques Union and Indus, in Foveaux Strait. The Chronicle of the 12th last says:—"Captain Stephenson, of the barque Union, from Otago, reports as follows : At five o'clock p.m., on the 25th December, when off Solander Island in Foveaux Strait, position about 20 miles to the N.E, felt three smart shocks of an earthquake in succession, duration about 30 seconds. The weather was cloudy and the barometer low. The shock came from the southward. The barque Indus, which was in company, and about half a mile distant, also felt the shocks." As the shock appears to have been a very violent one, Captain Blake of the Adeline Burke stating that it caused that vessel to tremble and shake with a force almost equal to that of going over a reef of rocks," it is possible that the rock on which the Laughing Water struck, and which is situated in what was formerly supposed to be deep water, may have been raised by its agency. It is also worthy of notice that a shock was felt at the same time at Cromwell and Queenstown.  At the former place it lasted for a minute, and was described by a local paper as "a rather long and continuous wave of earthquake, rather than a shock and at Queenstown, where earthquakes are of common occurrence, it attracted attention on account of the length of its duration. 


The elastic rebound theory states that the jagged edges of tectonic plates moving relative to each other often lock up. A great amount of elastic strain builds up along both sides of the fault plane during the many years that these plates are locked. When this strain exceeds the strength of the rocks, the fault planes suddenly snap back toward their original position. This snap back releases a sudden shock wave. If the fault is vertical, as was the one above, the shock wave travels towards the surface at greater than 1,500 meters per second.  The pressure in the water a few meters above the epicenter might momentarily exceed 2,000 pounds per square inch above the surrounding water pressure. Or, if the fault snapped in the opposite direction, the seafloor would slump, generating a momentary negative pressure of a minus 500 psi below ambient. The rumbling in the seafloor after the initial shock would cause pressure swings as high as 200 psi.

Depending on the distance to the diving pod, the shock wave or the hydroacoustic P-waves would induce sudden corresponding changes in the volume of air inside the whale's cranial air spaces. If the intensity of these changes in pressure exceed the whales ability to compensate, the entire diving pod suffers a barotraumatic injury in their air sinuses and/or in the air sacs that isolate the two cochleas.

These sudden changes in ambient pressure also induce bubbles of air in the blood and bones (bends). The bubbles lead to a range of symptoms, which emerge soon after surfacing. Pain is often the first indicator, usually in the joints and muscles. Other symptoms include headaches, dizziness and nausea. That's in mild cases of decompression sickness. More serious damage can be done to arteries.

"When bubbles form, they can travel down blood vessels and wreck the inside lining," says Lieutenant-Commander Dr Peter Smith, officer in charge of the Australian Navy Submarine and Underwater Medicine Unit. "Blood vessels are designed to be kind of Teflon-coated [non-stick]. But the bubbles can rip off all the coating, then everything starts to stick, and the blood vessel can become leaky and stop working. When that's happening all over your body, it can cause a lot of damage."

In the most serious cases paralysis, brain damage, heart attacks and breathing difficulties can result. It's possible for the bubbles to enter the brain and spinal cord. In these cases, the damage can cause tingling, numbness and unconsciousness. Damage to the brain can cause vision impairment, headaches, permanent hearing impairment, confusion, problems with balance and coordination, and loss of echonavigation and echolocation in whales. In humans, cases that lead to strokes, seizures, paralysis and death are often due to arterial gas embolism: large air bubbles that form in one place but get lodged in the heart, lung or brain.

Capt. David Williams
Deafwhale Society (the world's oldest whale conservation group)


Site Map for http://deafwhale.com  

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   

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   

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   

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   

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

Nov 20: 52 Pilot Whales Stranded in Tasmania


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