Sixteen days after the seaquake, on Monday morning (December 8), six sperm whales stranded on Parara Beach in the Gulf of Saint Vincent just south of the town of Ardrossan. A seventh whale was found near a jetty later in the day. A fisherman has also reported seeing an eighth whale in deeper water. (see top news report)
Ardrossan caravan park manager Steve Ruddock said a worker at his park spotted some of the stranded whales splashing in the water as the tide headed on the morning of 8 December. This indicates that the whales likely swam as close as they could to the high tide mark, and were left stranded when the water receded from under them.
The quake struck while they were on a feeding dive. The dancing seafloor generated a series of changes in ambient water pressure that caused barotrauma in their cranial air spaces. Since this air is used to deflect, focus, and channel returning echo-clicks, the injury knocked out their sense of direction.
They became hopelessly lost at sea in an instant.
It wasn't long after the stunned whales returned to the surface until the hunger sharks picked up on the taste, smell, and erratic action of the wounded pod.
With no sense of direction on their own, surface currents quickly pointed the swimming whales downstream in the path of least drag. That they travel with the flow is only common sense -- everything lost at sea always swims or floats downstream. Said differently, no blind swimmer can swim upstream against the current for more than a minute or two. If you doubt it, blindfold yourself and go for a swim. You'll be shock at how fast you are swimming downstream.
Now lets look at the surface currents for the week after the injury:
The quake was located exactly at the lower left corner of the chart above. You can see how the lost whales would have swam east along 49 S until they were due south of the area where they stranded. The distance between the seaquake and the stranding beach is about 3500 kilometers. Being dogged day and night by vicious sharks, the pod would have swam about 225 km per day, which would have placed them near the beach were they stranded.
On 09 December 2014 at 13:18:29 local time at the epicenter, a mag 5.1 seaquake occurred along the Western Indian-Antarctic Ridge, near where two recent earthquakes are thought to have injured whales and caused a mass stranding. This quake was listed at a default depth of 10 km and located at: 49.773°S 122.694°E.
This is a known sperm and pilot whales feeding grounds.
Will this quake also cause a stranding? There are a couple of things that indicate it will not. First, it occurred at 1 pm in the afternoon, when most whales are resting on the water's surface. Second, it occurred near a transform fault. This means that more likely then not, the motion in the seafloor was horizontal. Side to side motion does not generate strong pressure pulses as compared to events with mostly vertical motion.
But... there is so much I don't know about these seaquakes that make it difficult to predict strandings. We will wait and see on this one. No stranding is predicted. If one does occur, it will happen near Golden Bay, New Zealand sometimes during the Christmas holidays.
Capt. David Williams
(We seek truth, not money!)
Site Map for http://deafwhale.com
Why Whales Strand: The Logical Truth
Seaquakes kill 322 Baleen Whales in Chile
Three Fin Whales Killed by Seaquake
The Danger of Seaquakes
How Seaquakes Cause Whale Strandings
Scientists Lying About Whale Strandings
Whale Scientists Spreading Propaganda Part II
Scuba Divers Survive Seaquakes
Surface Currents Guide Whales to the Beach
Seaquake-Vessel Encounters from 1900 to 2015
Seaquake-Vessel Encounters from 1800 to 1899
History of Whale Drive Fisheries and Seaquakes
Typical Seaquake Reported by a Ship at Sea
Various Whale Beaching Theories
Whale Stranding Solutions
Variables in Seaquake-Induced Whale Strandings
Narwhals Trapped in Arctic Ice
Seaquake Causes Whale Beaching
1988 article why whales and dolphins strand (PDF)
2013 Science Article - seaquakes cause whale strandings (PDF)
Seismic Airguns Kill Endangered Sea Turtles
Nuclear Submarine USS Scorpion (SSN-589) sunk by seaquake
1966 US Navy verifies seaquakes sinks ships and kill marine life
Ghost Ship Mary Celeste abandoned during seaquake
Site Map for http://deafwhale.blogspot.com
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