When the air blast goes off, it sends a deafening 250 decibels of low frequency sound through the ocean. Most people feel pain at 140 decibels. A jet engine is intolerable at 150 decibels.
The air explodes downward at 2,000 psi. The pressure in a car tire is about 32 psi.
How would you expect a whale or dolphin to respond to one such blast every 10 seconds, day after day?
Now imagine how the minor creatures of the sea, krill, microscopic plankton, and pelagic drifters handle this enormous, repeat rush of energy through the environment.
Oil and gas companies use the massive air guns to survey the ocean floor for oil. The air gun is towed behind a powerful boat that soon may cruise up and down the eastern coastline of the US. The gun shoots a blast of compressed air so powerful it can penetrate deep into the ocean floor. The returning echo from the blast is received and processed to…