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).
On 22 October, 2012, an Italian court convicted six internationally respected scientists of manslaughter. The scientists Enzo Boschi, Giulio Selvaggi, Franco Barberi, Claudio Eva, Mauro Dolce, and Gian Michele Calvi have been sentenced to prison terms, barred from public office, and ordered to pay court costs and damages.
Their offense could have been avoided by precisely predicting the timing and nature of the tragic 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila. However, such precise, short-term earthquake prediction of the type evidently sought by L’Aquila is currently impossible. Because of the ungainly complexity of earthquake systems, knowledge of physical details is incomplete; the diverse expressions of earthquake processes deliver contradictory messages; and measurements of earthquake phenomena can be inaccurate. Glaringly, the indictment accused the scientists of having provided “incomplete”, “contradictory”, and “inaccurate” information.
[Editor] Click through for the rest of the press release from the GSA. [/Editor]