Whale Songs to Image the Ocean Subsurface

Whales imaging the ocean crust?
Whale songs may be useful for passive seismic imaging of the ocean subsurface. Image credit: KUNA ET AL. 2021/SCIENCE

A cool new study indicates there may be potential for seismologists to gather information on the ocean subsurface using passive seismic data collection with whale songs as the seismic source! Researchers from Oregon State University determined that underwater geophones on the surface of the ocean can detect seismic signals originating from the songs of fin whales. When they can correlate the songs from three different geophones, they can triangulate the position of the whale and use that information and the seismic data much in the same ways as traditional seismic surveys. There is more information on the new whale song paper at Forbes.com (may require subscription).

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