What Are Seismic Airguns and Why Should We Care?

Written by on September 19, 2013 in Policy & Ocean Law
Image courtesy of Oceana.

Image courtesy of Oceana.

The U.S. government is considering a proposal to allow seismic airgun testing along the Atlantic coast from Delaware to Florida.

Seismic airguns are used to locate oil and gas below the seafloor. The process is loud and long. For days to weeks at a time, a vessel tows one or more seismic airguns which shoot blasts of compressed air through the water and miles into the seafloor every ten seconds, 24 hours a day. This non-stop noise, 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine, disturbs whales and dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life and can force them to leave the area.

In addition to the effects on marine life, seismic airgun testing is the first step towards offshore drilling, which can lead to habitat destruction and oil spills, which is why Oceana is working so hard to put a stop to this proposal.

Oceana, the largest international organization focused entirely on marine conservation, is hosting educational forums about seismic airgun testing at several locations along the East Coast. For a list of events, click here.

On Thursday, October 3, I will be at the event in Miami, moderating the panel on the issue of seismic airgun testing. Panelists include Matt Hueslenbeck, Marine Scientist with Oceana, Scott Stripling, Surfider’s Miami Chapter Chair, and Tanya Tweeton of the Sierra Club South East Florida Sierra Marine and Water Quality Team.

If you’re in South Florida, be sure to come to the event to learn more about this important issue.

For more information, check out some of these links:

Image courtesy of Oceana.

Image courtesy of Oceana.

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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