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White House Approves Sonic Cannons For Atlantic Energy Exploration 272

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-waiting-on-my-sonic-screwdriver dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The White House on Friday gave final approval to allow the use of sonic cannons in finding energy deposits underneath the ocean floor on the U.S. Atlantic seaboard. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says that finding energy resources off the Atlantic seaboard "could generate thousands of jobs, but has also acknowledged that the process will harm sea creatures." Sonic cannons "fire sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine." Mammals such as whales and dolphins that communicate through sound will most likely be affected, but scientists aren't sure to what extent. They also aren't sure how the cannons will affect fish and other sea creatures or how any physiological effects on them may impact the fishing industries of the U.S. and the other countries who rely on seafood that migrate into and out of the Atlantic Ocean.
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White House Approves Sonic Cannons For Atlantic Energy Exploration

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  • by sideslash (1865434) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @10:21PM (#47491999)
    Can they give "warning shots" for some time period ahead of time to clear the area? Can they definitively detect whether any large mammals are in the vicinity before giving the big blasts?

    Actually, even if they can, this sounds really bad, no pun intended. :(
  • I want one (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eyegone (644831) on Saturday July 19, 2014 @10:37PM (#47492061)
    I don't care what they're supposed to be used for. They may be civilization's last hope of controlling my children.
  • by JMJimmy (2036122) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @02:40PM (#47495809)

    Speaking strictly in terms of pressure:

      - A 1kt nuclear explosion is 300-310db re 1 Pa at 1m
      - A seismic air cannon is 264-270db re 1 Pa at 1m
      - Whales can go anywhere from 108 to 225b re 1 Pa at 1m

    Looking at that without any context one might think it's no big deal. Except that for every 6db you're doubling the pressure.

    240db re 1 Pa at 1m is 100% lethal to fish and mammals up to 125m, permanent hearing loss on all trauma frequencies to >50% of fish/mammals to a range of 900m and causes some permanent hearing damage up to 1.5km (McAnuff and Booren, 1976; Yelverton and Richmond, 1981; Phillips et al., 1989: Richmond et al., 1989; Myricket ai., 1989)

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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