US plans widespread seismic testing of sea floor

Jul 26, 2014 by Wayne Parry

(AP)—The U.S. government is planning to use sound blasting to conduct research on the ocean floor along most of the East Coast, using technology similar to that which led to a court battle by environmentalists in New Jersey.

The U.S. Geological Survey plans to map the outer limits of the continental shelf and study underwater landslides that would help predict where and when tsunamis might occur. But environmentalists say it could cause the same type of marine life damage they fought unsuccessfully to prevent this month off New Jersey.

"New Jersey's marine life, fisheries and coastal economy can't get a break," said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, which led the battle to block a sound blasting research plan.

Although it involves the same basic technology, the new plan is much wider-ranging. It would begin near the U.S.-Canadian offshore border and extend as far south as Florida.

John Haines, coordinator of the Geological Survey's coastal and marine geology program, said his research will be low-impact. It is designed to more precisely map the far reaches of the continental shelf to better determine where the United States' exclusive rights to undersea resources such as fish and shellfish extend.

It is not being done to map potential oil, gas or mineral deposits, he said.

"As hard as it is to believe, we don't know in the U.S. where on the seabed our right to protect and use resources ends," he said.

Data from the study also could show which areas of the U.S. and Caribbean coasts could be vulnerable to tsunamis.

The Geological Survey study is due to run for about three weeks sometime between August and September this year, and a similar period next year, Haines said.

Zipf said researchers would blast the with sound waves measuring from 236 to 265 decibels every 20 to 24 seconds for at least 17 days each year of the survey.

Environmentalists say the noise could harm or even kill marine life including whales, dolphins and turtles. Haines said his group is sensitive to those concerns and will take steps to minimize harm to marine animals, including stopping work when animals are seen nearby.

The plan still needs to be approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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MR166
2 / 5 (8) Jul 26, 2014
"It is not being done to map potential oil, gas or mineral deposits, he said."

WHY NOT!!!!!!!!!

As long as you are doing the testing why not do it in such a manner as to get the most information possible?

The inference was that testing for hydrocarbons and minerals at the same time would be a bad thing. The collective IQ of this nation is plummeting.
verkle
1.4 / 5 (10) Jul 26, 2014
Can we just have an article that explains what the US is planning to do, without all of these distracting quotes from environmentalists?
EyeNStein
5 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2014
Some actual information about how loud the tests are and how cetaceans would be affected would be helpful. (Except the figures would be disputed by every organisation with an agenda. ) The actual value of the expected test results would be useful too, the "Its such a shame that we don't know stuff" argument doesn't hold water.
EyeNStein
4 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2014
This one is definitely after fossil fuels:
"Obama approves sonic cannons for use in east coast gas and oil exploration"
http://www.thegua...loration
EyeNStein
5 / 5 (2) Jul 26, 2014
This one is more explicit:-
"Obama approves sonic cannons for use in east coast gas and oil exploration"
http://www.thegua...loration
Cave_Man
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 26, 2014
Seems like they are saying it might hurt everything they are trying to discover...? Isn't there a less destructive way to explore...you know...without altering the very things you are trying to discover?

I've heard from several navy sources that they are already bombarding coastal waters with microwave and radio radiation thanks to paranoia about national defense. Which they know is causing some of the numerous sea life "mass mortality events"....

With most ocean fish being 10% of what there were before industrial commercial fishing I think it would be wise not to further endanger yet another source of food, income, and security of our already fragile country. Just wait 100 years until we have neutrino sensors, we will be able to see everything. Fuck using sonic sensors, it's probably bad for the people operating them, not to mention the fish and other aquatic life its targeted at!
Dr_toad
Jul 26, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
alfie_null
5 / 5 (2) Jul 27, 2014
I've heard from several navy sources that they are already bombarding coastal waters with microwave and radio radiation thanks to paranoia about national defense. Which they know is causing some of the numerous sea life "mass mortality events"....

Could you cite something? Water doesn't transmit RF well. Underwater you'll find very little RF.