Seaquake Causes Whale Beachings on King Island

ALMOST 100 whales and dolphins died in two mass beachings near King Island.

On Friday morning, 02 November 2012, locals found 13 dolphins beached at Quarantine Bay on the island’s northwest coast while on nearby New Year Island, a stranding of about 67 pilot whales and 20 dolphins were discovered the next day.

More than 80 of the animals were dead when a fisherman found them. Two whales and six dolphins were considered to be strong enough to attempt to refloat them.

Peter Mooney, general manager of the Parks and Wildlife Service in Tasmania, speaking after 2009’s beaching on King Island, said that whales and dolphins often put their own survival at risk to stay with their pod. “They’re incredibly socially strong,” he said. “One whale beaches and the others come in to be with that whale and we end up with the whole pod stranded. They just won’t leave other whales they think are in distress, even if it means their own death.”

King Island whale rescue group member Margaret Barnes told The Mercury newspaper that the stranding was hard on volunteers. “The whales were screaming for their calves, which were dead. It was all pretty bad.”

I’m curious!  How does Peter know that whales are so in love with each other that healthy pod members will follow sick one to their death? How does Margaret know that the whales were screaming for their calves?  Did these two so-called experts interview the whales? If not, then what they say above is simply bullshit.

There’s a better way to explain mass beachings.

On 18 October, 15 days prior to the beaching, a magnitude 5.9 earthquake occurred in the seabed 1298 km south of Hobart Tasmania at 54.32 S ; 143.99 E.  The quake was very shallow. It is shown in the seismic data at the default value of 10 km below the ocean’s surface. Here again, the geophysicists are only guessing on the depth. It might have only been 3 km below the rock-water interface in which case it becomes extremely dangerous to diving whales. Read more about how seaquakes cause whales strandings (link).

Here’s the data on the earthquake:



The epicenter of the quake was situated at the bottom and to the left of the center of the above chart.  The seabed danced about when the quake hit.  This dancing acted like a powerful piston pushing and pulling against the water column, generating waves of intense pressure changes that swept over the pod of pilot whales and the pod of dolphins causing damage in and around the cranial air sinuses and air sacs of each whale. The injury, barotrauma in nature, caused the whales to lose their normally excellent acoustic sense of direction and prevented them from diving and feeding themselves. Take a look at:

They huddled together and started to swim in a random direction.  Water is 800 times denser than air.  As a result, there exist a large drag that opposes swimming in any direction except downstream with the surface flow. Said differently, the only way lost whales can swim is downstream in the path of least drag. Since the current builds beaches, one should expect the current to deposit lost whales in a sandy area.

The distance from the epicenter to the stranding beach is about 1,400 miles.  The time between the injury and the beaching was 15 days so the whales swam downstream about 100 miles per day.